Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The Importance of Physical Activity in Controlling Blood Glucose

Type 2 diabetes has been a dangerous chronic illness in the US for a number of years. And now, prediabetes is gaining attention because treating prediabetes can delay or avoid type 2 diabetes. Approximately 30 million US residents have type 2 diabetes, and more than 84 million US residents have prediabetes. A healthy diet and physical activity are seen as the tools to use in the fight against type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. And one study has suggested that a too-low level of physical activity is likely to lead to type 2 diabetes.

Investigators at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada looked at the effects of walking 1,000 steps or less a day for two weeks. The investigator focused, specifically, on overweight, elderly individuals, and found that the “sudden inactivity [of walking less than 1000 steps a day] caused blood sugar to spike in the pre-diabetic adults, and it stayed high even after people returned to normal levels of activity.”

It was reasoned that the limited physical activity meant that the body didn’t use as much of the glucose as it might have with more activity. And as glucose stays in the blood, more insulin is created to remove the glucose. Eventually, tissues become less sensitive to insulin, making it more difficult for insulin to remove the glucose from the blood.

The above study demonstrates the importance of physical activity. Some experts recommend 10,000 steps each day. Others argue that the number is less than 10,000 steps. However, based on the above study, the number of steps is probably at least a thousand.

Physical activity is needed to help regulate blood glucose. Physical activity, along with diet and lifestyle change, is an important tool in the fight against prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. And clinicians should always make physical activity a part of any type 2 diabetes and prediabetes treatment plan.


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