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Why Is Exercise Important to Diabetics?

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There are several potential risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes. Some of these are controllable, such as regulating your body weight, whereas others are factors outside your influence, such as aging. One very important risk factor that is most definitely manageable and influential is physical activity. Exercise (or physical activity with a goal - in this case to improve your health), is not only helpful in preventing high blood sugar levels and Type 2 diabetes, but also plays an active role in the management of the disease.

Diabetes is considered a dysfunction in the carbohydrate metabolizing systems in the body, characterized by glycosuria and especially hyperglycemia. This is due to the insufficient production or utilization of insulin, a hormone responsible for the uptake of carbohydrate into your body tissues. In the case of Type 2 diabetes, there is a dysfunction in the regular usage of insulin due to insulin resistance.

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What is the importance of exercise in this context?

Examining the benefits of exercise in your body from a physical and mental health perspective, could be a lengthy report on its own. Specifically, in the case of Type 2 diabetes, exercise is a mediator for blood sugar levels in the cardiovascular system. Physical activity plays a key role in...

  • managing your blood sugar when required to avoid hyperglycemia, and
  • direct the intake of glucose throughout your body tissues to prevent hyperglycemia and its potentially harmful effects.

Exercise causes a very similar effect in your body's tissues when compared to insulin. Glucose transporters that direct the uptake of blood sugar into tissues can be found on muscle cell membranes. These transporters are activated by insulin, although not exclusively. Physical activity relays signals throughout the central nervous system and also activates these transporters and brings about the intake of glucose into your muscle cells to provide for the skeletal muscle energy demands for muscular contractions. This effect is sustained after a bout of exercise where glycogen stores in the muscle are depleted and the tissues will continue to take in sugar to restore its reserves.

Not only will exercising reduce blood sugar levels and control the harmful effects of hyperglycemia, it will lower insulin resistance in your body through adaption. It increases the efficiency of the working insulin in your blood stream. Less injectable insulin or oral anti-diabetic medications will be necessary to control your blood sugar, and the timing and activation of the hormone itself will also improve.

This is a long-term benefit that will assist in the maintenance of Type 2 diabetes with obvious immediate benefits as well. The best part about this is, in general, any type of exercise is beneficial whether it be some form of cardio or resistance training program.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.

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For nearly 25 years Beverleigh Piepers has searched for and found a number of secrets to help you build a healthy body. Go to to learn about some of those secrets.

The answer isn't in the endless volumes of available information but in yourself.

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