Physical Activity and Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes cost the United States around $245 billion dollars in total medical costs for diagnosed diabetes in 2012.  Between the main types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most well-known. People with type 1 diabetes create little to no insulin, and people with type 2 diabetes are insulin resistant. Insulin is important for regulating blood glucose levels, and having a high blood glucose level can lead to increased risks for kidney disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

            The Diabetes Prevention Program, a major government study, found a relationship between healthy habits and diabetes that could prevent the development of diabetes and any further complications. The DPP found that 58% of the participants reduced their risk of diabetes through diet, physical activity, and other behavior modifications. The researchers also concluded that physical activity helps to reduce blood glucose levels and improve the ability of the body to use insulin, which are all important factors in the management of diabetes.

If you are one of those people who are too tired after work or “don’t have any time” to exercise, try to find an activity you enjoy to get yourself more active. Active hobbies like swimming, walking the dog, and other activities can be used to help with the management and prevention of diabetes. When first starting out, you can begin with ten minutes of physical activity per day and gradually work up to an hour of physical activity per day. Goal setting and having a reward system can also give you a little extra motivation. Rewarding yourself for walking 15 minutes a day for a week can help you to push yourself past your own expectations. Finding something enjoyable and being consistent with your physical activity regimen can make a huge difference towards the fight against diabetes.