Importance of exercise for diabetics

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Exercise is one of the best prevention and treatment tools for pre-diabetes, as well as diabetes.

When an individual is diagnosed with pre-diabetes, it means the signal we are supposed to receive from our insulin hormones is not working properly.

Exercise can help reverse this problematic condition.

Exercise offers both a quick and long term solution to the insulin resistance that causes diabetes to develop within an individual. When a person becomes insulin resistant, the glucose sugars we consume are not able to enter our cells and they begin backing up in the blood stream.

In the short term, the muscle contractions that occur during exercise open up an alternate pathway for glucose to enter the cells.

Over time, exercise helps repair and improve an individual’s sensitivity to insulin—reversing the resistance.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that individuals get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week to receive health benefits. Therefore, individuals with pre-diabetes should try to engage in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days a week.

This could include walking, biking, swimming, martial arts or even gardening. ACSM also recommends muscle strengthening exercise at least two times a week to help increase metabolism and receive optimal benefits. This can include simple exercises, such as squats, push-ups and triceps dips, that can be done in the comfort of your own home.

Spokesperson Background:
Kevan Mellendick is a registered dietitian and strength and conditioning specialist at Cone Health Nutrition & Diabetes Management Center.

Mellendick received a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from the University of Maryland and received a Master of Science in dietetics from Sam Houston State University.

He is currently a doctoral student in nutrition at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.