Prediabetic? Try exercise to control your blood sugar levels

Diabetes

By pH health care professionals

Staying fit into middle age may be one way to reduce your risk of prediabetes and diabetes, according to a new study published in Diabetologia online. Prediabetes simply means your blood sugar is higher than normal, but is not yet diabetes. It is estimated that half of all U.S. adults have either prediabetes or diabetes.

So if you need another reason to lace up those sneakers, how about preventing diabetes?

In this recent study, researchers hypothesized that the more fit you are, the less likely you’d be to develop prediabetes or diabetes by middle age. And, after studying 4,373 black and white adults in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study over 20 years, turns out they were right. For those who maintained or increased their physical fitness from young adulthood into middle age, their efforts paid off.

The participants were recruited in the 1980s when they were ages 18 to 30 years old. The researchers were able to see how fit they were based how long they could run on a treadmill. They repeated this test again in year seven of the study when the participants were 25 to 37 years old, and then again in year 20, when they were 38 to 50 years old.

They checked for prediabetes and diabetes at the beginning of the study and at years seven, 10, 15, 20 and 25. By year 25, they found 44.5 percent of the participants had developed prediabetes, and 11.5 percent had developed Type 2 diabetes. Participants who developed prediabetes or diabetes were more likely to be older, black males, and they were more likely to: be on blood-pressure medication, smoke and have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) score (a calculation doctors use to assess weight relative to your height).

After several decades of study, researchers concluded that fitness was indeed associated with a reduced risk of developing prediabetes or diabetes.

So why does exercise affect diabetes risk?

The researchers suggested that the reduced risk of prediabetes and diabetes may have something to do with:

  • Exercise reducing that unhealthy abdominal fat, called visceral fat, which has been linked with greater risk for Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Exercise’s anti-inflammatory benefits. Chronic inflammation can cause many health issues.
  • Exercise’s impact on insulin sensitivity. When your body becomes resistant to insulin, and less sensitive to it, your body cannot normalize your blood sugar as well anymore, which means you could develop prediabetes and then Type 2 diabetes.

But ultimately, exercise may affect people differently, one of the researchers commented. So finding a personalized approach, and seeing how different types of exercises affect you, may be the best route. If you don’t know where to start, use a pedometer or wearable fitness tracker to monitor your daily steps. Make 10,000 steps your daily goal.

At Proactive Health Labs, the health care professionals take a completely personalized approach to diabetes prevention and helping you build a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Our doctors can suggest the appropriate lab tests and recommend next steps. Plus, we have personal trainers and nutrition coaches in-house. Come see us. If you aren’t local to Southern California, our advocates can help you one-on-one, no matter where you are.

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.

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