November 14 is World Diabetes Day and like any major chronic ailment it is widely discussed and researched.
Milt Bedingfield, a renowned exercise physiologist and certified diabetes educator of US in one of his recent writings has proposed a different approach for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. For the past 18 years, Bedingfield has been teaching people about diabetes at The Diabetes and Endocrinology Institute at Florida Hospital Tampa.
For many years the standard treatment for Type 2 diabetes is to follow a low-carb diet, eat as little sugar as possible and take medication as prescribed by the doctor. Exercise is considered beneficial for someone with diabetes, and stress is known to elevate blood sugar levels.
The idea of always having to watch everything they eat and counting every little carb no matter how insignificant is tiring. What if we could figure out a way to get sugar to leave the blood at the same rate at which it enters (or as close as possible)? Let’s focus on getting the sugar out of the blood faster and easier, as well as somewhat reducing the carbohydrate or sugar intake. Performing regular exercise will have a huge impact on this.
Insulin, which is made in the beta cells of the pancreas, in response to sugar entering the blood, enters the blood and looks for a sugar molecule to grab hold of. Once an insulin grabs a sugar molecule, it then takes it to a muscle, fat, or liver cell. Once there, the insulin is supposed to find a door to the cell, open it, and escort the sugar into the cell. In the case of Type 2 diabetes, when there is insulin resistance, which there almost always is, the doors to the cells do not open as easily as they are supposed to. This is referred in medical science as “Rusty Hinges”. This makes it much harder to get the sugar out of the blood and into the cells throughout the body.
For the person with Type 2 diabetes, every time they engage in exercise, in a sense, it’s as if they are getting the rust sanded off of their hinges and having them sprayed with WD-40. Exercise directly deals with the root of the problem—insulin resistance—like no other treatment. Exercise facilitates like nothing else getting sugar out of the blood.
For a very large percentage of people with Type 2 diabetes, exercise is the most important thing they can do to manage their diabetes, followed closely by being more careful with what they eat. Bedingfield says, “I do want to make it clear that when I recommend exercise to a patient, it is first and foremost to help in reducing insulin resistance—that is, to help clear excess sugar from the blood. Secondarily, it is to assist a patient in their weight loss efforts.”
Usually performing 30 of minutes of exercise, five to six days a week, at a moderate but comfortable pace, regularly, should do you a world of good. Performing up to 250 minutes per week is further recommended for those trying to lose some weight.