Advanced Physiotherapist, Jecy outlines how exercises and lifestyle modifications can help manage Diabetes.

Many of us will be familiar with Diabetes either personally or through somebody within our circle of family, friends and acquaintance who have this metabolic disorder.

According to recent reports [Diabetes UK] approximately 4 to 5 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK. This is a huge economic burden and a major public health crisis as well as having a potentially debilitating effect on an individual’s health.

What is diabetes?

To understand diabetes, we need to understand the metabolic process that happens in our body. In simple terms,when we eat food and it is digested, one of the major by-products is glucose (sugar) which is then released into the bloodstream. When sugar levels in the blood increase, insulin is secreted by the pancreas in order to transfer sugar from the blood into our cells to be used as energy for various activities. Some of this glucose is also stored in the liver for later use.

When the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin or if the cells in the body become resistant or desensitised to insulin, the sugar in blood does not get absorbed into cells and is present in high levels in the bloodstream. This is when you are diagnosed as being Diabetic.

High levels of blood sugar causes damage to various organs and functions in the body and that is why diabetes is the precursor for various other serious health problems .

Studies have shown that in spite of the medical options that are available to manage diabetes, lifestyle modifications which includes dietary regulations  and exercises are important tools to manage diabetes.

Which exercises are beneficial?

A combination of aerobic and weight training, according to guidelines recommended by qualified professionals, helps in controlling glucose levels in Type II diabetes. Exercises also have a general effect in improving insulin sensitivity which is a major factor in diabetes and other metabolic problems. Apart from the general effects of improving lipid profile – reducing body weight and improving cardiovascular health – exercises also improve the uptake of glucose by skeletal muscles, thus   maintaining stable blood sugar levels which has a direct effect in managing diabetes.

The type, intensity and frequency of an exercise program for diabetes management varies according to each individual. Factors such as body weight, joint integrity, bone density, other co-morbidities (2 or more medical conditions), cardio-respiratory endurance, and the type of physical activity preferred as well as general lifestyle and current blood sugar levels influence which exercises may be prescribed.

A qualified exercise therapist/physiotherapist would help in the right prescription of exercises to help manage diabetes.

Jecy says: ‘As individuals we can ensure we look after our own health and help in controlling the high incidence of diabetes diagnosis by incorporating lifestyle modifications to either prevent or manage this metabolic disorder’.

You can contact Jecy by booking an appointment online or by calling our Reception Team on 01483 527945.

Reference: Diabetes UK. NICE, UK, Colbert et al; 2010 (American Diabetes Association) , Kiwanis et al; 2018 ( National Library of Medicine)

photo: Kampus productions