You have diabetes and your doctor has told you that you need to exercise to help stabilize your blood sugars and decrease your risk for complications of your disease. There are different types of exercises that provide different benefits, including:
1. Aerobic - improved oxygen flow and
decreased body fat
2. Flexibility exercises - improve joint
movement, balance and decrease risk for
3. Strength Training - improve muscle mass,
muscle strength and bone strength
But how does your body respond to exercise? For the average person, exercise increases metabolism, changes body shape and alters the general chemical composition. It is, therefore, important to understand how these can impact your disease.
1. Metabolism - metabolism is the rate at
which your body burns fuel. Exercise
increases metabolism, with different
exercises burning different percentages
of the three primary fuel sources:
carbs, fats and proteins.
Very intense exercise uses primarily
carbs for fuel, which can rapidly
deplete your carb stores. Low intensity
exercises tend to burn all of the fuels
and a fairly consistent rate.
2. Body shape - apple-shaped people tend to
be at higher risk of heart disease due
to the fat deposits around the waist and
chest. Exercises that reduce total body
fat, especially around the abdomen and
chest, will improve overall health and
decrease the risk for core organ disease
3. Chemical changes in your body include
acid-base balance, fluctuations in
blood sugar, and variations in your
electrolytes potassium, calcium and
Intense exercise tends to generate more
acids, adversely effecting your acid-
base balance by producing lactic acid.
Low intensity exercises have less impact
on blood sugar, acid-base and
In terms of your diabetic body, it is important to consider how the exercise you choose is going to impact your disease, including sugar, body fat and acid-base balance.
When choosing an exercise, aerobic exercises use all three primary fuel sources consistently, tend not to generate lactic acid and do a great job a of reducing body fat, which will stimulate your metabolism to stabilize your blood sugars and promote weight loss.
Talk to your doctor about exercise before starting a program.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|