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

Entries Tagged as 'Exercise For Diabetes'

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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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

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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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

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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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

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 For Diabetes

Exercise to Control A1C

June 12th, 2011 · 1 Comment

For years the experts have been telling us that exercise is important for us to control our diabetes. But they never told us how important it is.

Even the experts didn’t know. Until now.

Tomorrow, the American Medical Association’s professional journal, JAMA, will publish a systematic review and meta-analysis of previously published studies. Each of those studies was at least 12 weeks long and randomized and controlled clinical trials. Meeting these criteria were 47 trials that included 8,538 people.

Daniel Umpierre of the Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, Brazil, and eight colleagues call their meta-analysis “Physical Activity Advice Only or Structured Exercise Training and Association With HBA1c Levels in Type 2 Diabetes.” JAMA made the full-text of the meta-analysis available to me under embargo until this afternoon, and the abstract is online.
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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

The New York Times: “Is Sugar Toxic?”

May 21st, 2011 · 1 Comment

In 1961 I started to read The New York Times when I went to work in Washington. But its magazine always disappointed me.

Until Sunday. This week’s issue focuses on “Health and Wellness 2011.” All four of the magazine’s main articles are essential reading for everyone.

The cover story by Gary Taubes, “Is Sugar Toxic?,” makes the case against sugar. This isn’t his first time to tilt at the medical establishment in this magazine. Nine years ago his article, “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?,” began his crusade to expose the myth that fat was bad and carbohydrates are good.

His 2007 book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, built on that article so well that it convinced me and thousands of others to follow a very low-carb diet. In “Addicted to Carbs” I wrote here three years ago about how that book changed my life. With his book, Why We Get Fat: and What to Do About It, Taubes takes his argument to a wider, non-scientific audience.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet, Exercise For Diabetes

Doing Tai Chi for Balance

March 3rd, 2011 · 1 Comment

When you have diabetes, you know that falls come with the territory. If you are a senior citizen, this is doubly true.

Even worse is when you hike a lot on mountain trails, as I do. In the past few years I took several tumbles, fortunately not falling off a cliff or breaking a hip.

That never worried me much, but I was concerned that a fall could bring back an old knee injury that not long ago had made climbing difficult. When you are 75 years old with a history of 16 years of diabetes and a hiker, you’ve got to be careful.

And just being careful isn’t enough. All of us who have diabetes, who have more than a few years of life experience, or who hike need good balance.

So when a friend told me last year that the Tai Chi Chuan she was learning improved her balance, I listened. I remembered that Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that millions of people around the world practice for its defensive training or its health benefits. Tai Chi enhances our balance and body awareness through slow, graceful, and precise body movements.

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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

Walking Meditation

March 3rd, 2011 · No Comments

As I hiked out of the wilderness all I could think about was how much my feet hurt. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

Wearing a brand new pair of boots on a long backpacking trip into West Virginia’s Dolly Sods Wilderness about 35 years ago could have been a big mistake. The new boots gave my feet terrible blisters, and I had forgotten to take any moleskin. Returning to the trailhead after four or five days, I knew I had just one other way to control the pain. Deliberate walking meditation put my entire consciousness into my feet.

I don’t punish my feet any more to get the high that walking meditation brings. But I still hike or walk and meditate at the same time.

A leading exponent of walking meditation is Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist who is one of the important influences in the development of Western Buddhism. His book with Nguyen Anh-Huong, Walking Meditation (Sounds True: Boulder, Colorado, 2006), says that when we practice walking meditation, “We walk for the sake of walking…We walk slowly, in a relaxed way, keeping a light smile on our lips.”

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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes, Psychosocial

The Korean Paradox

November 30th, 2010 · 4 Comments

South Korea is different from the United States.

In some important respects this Asian country is more like America than most of us would think. This country is a democracy with a booming economy.

But the differences are great and go beyond Korea’s use of a different language and even a different alphabet than Westerners use. The differences go far beyond history and tradition. The biggest differences that I have seen during my visit this month are in the people themselves.

I saw with my own eyes how thin almost all Koreans are. Coming from the United States — even though I live in the thinnest state — I have been amazed to see almost no obesity here.

So, of course, I expected that almost no one in Korea would have diabetes. After all, didn’t the American weight problem lead to the rapid rise of diabetes in our country?

We know that some sort of link between being overweight and having diabetes exists. We do know that being overweight doesn’t cause diabetes, because two-thirds of American are overweight and about one-tenth of us have diabetes. But as our weight has gone up so too has the proportion of people with diabetes. Those two conditions have to have some association. [Read more →]


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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes, People With Diabetes

A Stand-Up Guy and His Desk

November 13th, 2010 · 2 Comments

When I tell you that I am a stand-up guy, I wouldn’t blame you for assuming that I was boasting. After all, part of the standard Mafia definition of this term is one who “can be trusted.”

While I do hope that you can trust me, I call myself a stand-up guy because one of my own posts here inspired me to stand up a lot more. So, when I say that I am a stand-up guy, this is a fact, not a boast.

In a post here, “Standing Up for Your Heart,” I reviewed a study by Alpa Patel, Ph.D., and her associates that explored the connection between sitting and mortality. They found that the amount of time people spend sitting is associated with an increased risk of death from heart disease, which happens to be the biggest complication of diabetes.

When I digested the impact of that study, it reinforced my long-standing plan of converting my computer time from sitting to standing. Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, was my original my model. Four years ago I wrote here about how he mounted his computer over a treadmill, and while he works, he walks at the rate of 0.7 miles per hour.

Even before reading the new study led by Dr. Patel, I had told Abhijit Mhapsekar, who programs my website, about walking on a treadmill while he worked. I knew that it would help heal his bad back. And Abhijit actually did get a treadmill with his computer mounted over a desk.

But I dawdled. My apartment doesn’t have enough room for a treadmill and treadmill desk in addition to the wonderful teak desk that I’ve had since 1969.

Instead, I priced stand-up desks on the Internet and a local store for me to use without a treadmill. Those desks run from $1,300 to $,2300. And they weren’t awfully stable.

Instead, I had a handyman make me a stand-up desk. It is as simple as possible: just two tracks screwed into the wall with three brackets that are adjustable (and I have already adjusted them), with a board 24 inches deep by 43 inches wide, large enough for one of my computers and accessories. The new desk ran me about $300 and is very stable. Anyone with more skill than I have could make one for much less.

When I commissioned my new stand-up desk, I expected to use it a small part of the time. In fact, I now use it much more than my old desk.

I also think more clearly when I am standing up. Judge for yourself. I wrote this standing.

As a writer, I have always known that I learn more from my articles than even the most diligent readers do. This is just like teachers learn more than their students because of all the preparation that goes into their lessons.

And as a caring person my goal in life is to help other people who like me have to live with diabetes. The Talmud says that “to save one person is to save the world,” and even if I haven’t moved you yet to stand up more, my review of Dr. Patel’s work already inspired both Abdijit and me to get off our butts more.

That’s not all. After I got my new stand-up desk I told Dr. Patel about it. “Congratulations! I hope to move from sitting on my exercise ball to a stand-up desk soon myself.”

Can I inspire you too?

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.


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Posted in: Diabetes Complications, Exercise For Diabetes

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