Aerobic and Resistance Exercise for People with Type 2 Diabetes

Thursday October 30, 2014

In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month in November, UNC Wellness Centers at Northwest Cary will hold a lecture titled “Diabetes and Pre-diabetes: Eat, Move, and De-Stress.  The lecture will occur on November 12 from 6:30-7:30pm.  The information presented on this topic “Aerobic and Resistance Exercise for People with Type 2 Diabetes,” will be written in three parts.  The first part will provide a brief overview of the latest statistics, symptoms and treatment options for people who have Type 2 Diabetes.  Specifically, the exercise treatment recommendations in part one will be general in nature however; part two and three will consist of a more detailed aerobic and resistance exercise protocol that may allow for people who have Type 2 diabetes to follow upon receiving approval to exercise from their health care provider. The new cases of people with Type 2 Diabetes are increasing at an alarming rate and since exercise is an important part of the equation, this information may be of value to people who want more specifics in terms of an easy to follow exercise protocol.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), data released in June 2014 from the National Diabetes Statistics Report revealed that the prevalence of diabetes in 2012 was 29.1 million Americans. From this number, 21 million were diagnosed and 8.1 were undiagnosed. This report also included the figures of prevalence in seniors, (11.8 million) new cases (1.7 million), pre-diabetes (86 million age 20 and older) and deaths (total 234,051). The most common type of diabetes is type 2. People with type 2 diabetes experience difficulty where their fat, liver and muscle cells do not respond properly to insulin which results in a condition called insulin resistance. Although most of the people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight, this disease can occur in thin people (usually the elderly) as well.

Early symptoms of diabetes may include the following:
• Bladder, kidney, skin, or other infections that are more frequent or heal slowly
• Fatigue
• Hunger
• Increased thirst
• Increased urination

If you experience any of these symptoms to also include blurred vision, erectile dysfunction (men) and pain or numbness in the feet of hands, please talk with your health care provider.

With regards to the treatment of diabetes, nutrition and physical activity are very important. The ADA has list of 10 superfoods that have a low glycemic index and provide key nutrients that are lacking in the typical western diet. For additional recommendations on nutrition, talk with your physician, nurse and dietitian. For help with the physical activity recommendations, talk with your physician to get approval to exercise and then seek proper help from a qualified health and fitness professional to ensure that you are exercising safely and correctly. The ADA also has some recommendations for physical activities.

Exercise recommendations
The ADA recommends 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week or a total of 150 minutes per week and strength training at least 2 times per week.

Aerobic exercises may include the following:
•Brisk walking (outside or inside on a treadmill)
•Bicycling/Stationary cycling indoors
•Low-impact aerobics
•Swimming or water aerobics
•Playing tennis
•Stair climbing

Strength training may include the following:
•Weight machines or free weights at the gym
•Using resistance bands
•Lifting light weights or objects like canned goods or water bottles at home
•Calisthenics or exercises that use your own body weight to work your muscles (examples are pushups, sit ups, squats, lunges, wall-sits and planks)
•Classes that involve strength training

In addition to these recommendations, new research has emerged on the benefits of interval training to help people with diabetes control their blood sugar level. Next month in part two of this three part series of Aerobic and Resistance Exercise for People with Diabetes, I will reveal more details about this research and offer additional recommendations for starting and following a SMART exercise program.

Written by: Patrick Service, Personal Trainer at Northwest Cary