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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Exercise'

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The Fast Path to Heart Health with Diabetes

August 31st, 2013 · 9 Comments

Almost all of us who have diabetes are too busy to keep our hearts in good shape. At least most of us act as if we were.

When our hearts get out of shape, we aren’t so busy any more. Heart disease is the most common as well as the most serious complication of diabetes.

This combination of lack of time and importance of heart health drive my quest for a quicker way to meet this challenge of living long with diabetes.


Lead Author Arnt Erik Tjønna (left) Tests a Volunteer for his Maximal Oxygen Uptake

A couple of weeks ago I learned the answer when I was in Canada’s Yukon Territory. I was driving to Alaska, where I am enjoying a cool summer. I had my car radio tuned to 105.1 FM from Burwash Landing, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio One station. The speaker was Dr. Brian Goldman.

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Posted in: Exercise

Easy Steps to Diabetes Control

August 24th, 2013 · 3 Comments

All the things that that we need to do when we learn we have diabetes and want to manage it can seem daunting. Diet, weight loss, exercise, reducing stress and inflammation, and taking pills or insulin can add up to a major headache.

But a brand new study shows that one of these tasks has become much easier. A little exercise can be a big help in bringing down our blood sugar level after a meal.

We have known for years that a brisk walk of half an hour can bring down our sugar level. I well remember when my late wife Catherine asked what she could do when her blood glucose meter showed that her level was above 200 about an hour after dinner. I suggested that we take a brisk walk around the block, and when we got back home and she tested again, her level was almost down to normal.

The difference in her levels before and after that exercise impressed both of us. But the new study shows that we have something that is much better. It’s easy and reduces our sugar level even more.

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Standing Up for Diabetes

August 21st, 2013 · No Comments

Besides eating wisely, what could be the best way to manage diabetes than getting a lot of exercise? For years the experts have been telling us that we need to work out regularly and to get our required dose of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

Exercise helps, but just getting off our butts now seems to be even more important. Stand up please!

This is the message of two recent reports in peer-reviewed professional journals. One of them focuses on people with pre-diabetes and other other on those of us who have type 2 diabetes. But the message is appropriate for all of us.

People with pre-diabetes are just like people with diabetes except that they have a choice because they still have enough beta cells in their pancreas. If they manage their condition now, they won’t have to manage diabetes all the rest of their lives.

The study of people with pre-diabetes analyzed 153 people in two earlier studies who had known risk factors for type 2 diabetes. This is the first study that has examined the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on diabetes. The new study, “Associations of objectively measured sedentary behaviour and physical activity with markers of cardiometabolic health,” appears in the May 2013 issue of Diabetologia, the official journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. The full-text is free online.

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Diet and Exercise for Diabetes Management

June 4th, 2013 · No Comments

One of the wisest researchers who I know writes that exercise won’t help us to lose weight. But in my experience it does, and weight loss is crucial for almost all of us who have diabetes, because our weight is a big factor in high blood sugar levels.

“Appetite and thus calories consumed will increase to compensate for physical activity,” writes Gary Taubes in Good Calories, Bad Calories. When I read the first edition of this book in 2007, it finally convinced me that I could control my diabetes and my weight on a very low-carb diet. It worked: my current A1C is 5.4 and my current BMI is 19.2. Both of these numbers are big improvements over what they were six years ago.

In his subsequent book, Taubes elaborated on his statement. This doessound persuasive.

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Posted in: Exercise, Food

Walking Equals Running for Heart and Diabetes Health

May 10th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Even the experts were surprised by the comparison between walking and running just reported in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Since I am a reformed jogger and am now a dedicated walker, the results delighted me and I think that they will make a lot of other people who have diabetes happy and healthy.

The difference with the new study is that it compared the number of miles we cover, not the amount of time we move. The study concluded that walking briskly can lower our risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes as much as running can.

“Walking and running provide an ideal test of the health benefits of moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running because they involve the same muscle groups and the same activities performed at different intensities,” says Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., the study’s principal author. He is also a staff scientist in the life science division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

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Posted in: Exercise

Get Fit Fast with Diabetes

March 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

Would you rather SIT or HIT?

SIT sounds like it’s too passive and HIT sounds too aggressive. But they are actually acronyms for intense forms of activity that can help us to better health and fitness in a fraction of the time that current exercise programs recommend.

SIT is Sprint Interval Training. HIT is High Intensity Interval Training (because HIIT is harder to say).

Sprint Interval Training means going all out in 30 second sprints on special laboratory bikes interspersed with four and one-half minutes of slow cycling. If you are young and healthy, this is probably the fastest way for you to get fit.

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The Most Efficient Exercise for Losing Weight

February 7th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Physical activities like walking, hiking, running, and swimming are better than resistance training for burning fat, according to a new study. The study by researchers from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, is the largest randomized trial that ever analyzed changes in our body composition from the three main ways that we get exercise.

These ways are (1) aerobic training — the activities like walking, hiking, running, and swimming, (2) resistance training like weight lifting, and (3) a combination of these two. In the conventional wisdom people had believed that increased metabolism from resistance training alone could reduce our body mass or fat mass, but the study found that it didn’t.

The study, “Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in
overweight or obese adults,” appears in the December 15 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology. Only the abstract of the study is online, but the lead author, Leslie H. Willis, kindly sent me the full-text. He is the clinical research coordinator at Duke Medical Center – Cardiology.

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Natural Exercise to Help Manage Diabetes

May 28th, 2012 · 1 Comment

When we think about managing our diabetes, we are almost always considering what we eat. Many of us rely on diabetes medications to stay in control. Some of us keep our blood glucose levels low with exercise.

But we rarely consider how our minds and bodies interact. We seldom think about how stress in our minds can make our bodies feel bad. When we feel bad, we sometimes overeat, don’t take our medication, or fail to get the exercise we need.

When it comes to stress, less is better, at least up to a point. Less stress means less tasks to do, fewer distractions and possessions to have, and even less civilization to live in. We need a new focus on “Less stress is beautiful” to go beyond the previous century’s “small is beautiful” movement.

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Better Fitness for Our Hearts and Blood Glucose

March 30th, 2012 · 4 Comments

Most people say they don’t have enough time to get the exercise that the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association say we need to protect our hearts and manage our diabetes. Their standard recommendation of 30 minutes a day five times a week works out to 2 ½ hours a week. And that doesn’t count the time it takes to get to the trail or the gym.

When we work one or more full-time jobs, interact with our family and friends, relax and sleep a little, we often feel like we don’t have any time left to work out. If only we could find a shortcut!

Now, however, some researchers have the answer. By trading intensity for time we can much more efficiently get the physical activity we all need.

The trick is a new twist on the interval training that almost all competitive athletics use to build up their speed and endurance. The usual interval training combines bursts of high-intensity exercise with longer periods of regular intensity exercise. A former girlfriend who is both a Certified Diabetes Educator and an athlete taught me that several years ago, and I recommended it then in “Efficient Exercise for Glucose Control.”

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Walk More, Sit Less

November 12th, 2011 · 1 Comment

When Dr. Bob Sallis called me, he was standing in line at an airport. I was sitting down.

My mistake.

We had scheduled an interview for this article about walking. But the message that he wanted to get out was both about walking and sitting.

“Some of the recent studies are showing that if you sit the rest of the day after exercise you negate the benefits of your exercise,” Dr. Sallis told me. “You have to be conscious of too much sitting.”

One of my wives once told me, only half in jest, that she never stands when she could sit and never sits when she could lie down. That’s only a slight exaggeration of what most of us have become.

I used to sit as much as my late wife did. But last year when I learned that “Standing Helps Heart Health,” I finally got my act together. Soon, I got a desk where I can work standing up.

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Posted in: Exercise