People who exercise look healthier and younger. Exercise has anti-aging properties: Anti-Aging Treatment: High Levels Of Exercise Increase Lifespan Up To 9 Years.
For type 1 diabetics, you still need to control blood sugar with insulin injections. Exercise will not help as much in blood sugar control, as it does with type 2 diabetics. For both diabetics, exercise has many beneficial effects:
- Increase in muscle and strength
- Raise in HDL (good cholesterol)
- Lower LDL (bad cholesterol)
- Lower triglycerides
- Reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, blockage by lowering serum fibrinogen levels
- Reduced loss of bone mineral
Exercise helps with weight control, but it does not directly burn fat. Fat burning depends on your diet and insulin control.
Have you ever noticed that when you exercise strenuously, you crave more protein than carbohydrates? This is because the neurotransmitters, called endorphins, help reduce carbohydrate cravings.
Less carbohydrate and more protein consumption, leads to lower insulin levels. Less insulin means that you store less fat in your fat tissue. Muscle building and lower insulin levels reduce insulin resistance (the higher your ratio of abdominal fat to muscle mass, the higher your chances of being insulin resistant).
This is what happens in a non-diabetic when exercising:
- Stress hormones are released.
- These hormones release glycogen stores (glucose stores).
- Insulin is released from the pancreas to prevent an increase in blood glucose.
Type 2 diabetic when exercising for a short period of time, they do not immediately produce insulin, so their blood sugar goes up. The exercise needs to be adequately prolonged for insulin production to kick in. Long enough exertion will result in efficient blood sugar control on type 2 diabetics:
- Short exercise: elevation in blood glucose.
- Long enough exercise: lower blood glucose.
When type 1 diabetics (they are not able to produce insulin) are exercising and they do not have insulin in the bloodstream, the released glycogen (glucose) is not able to enter the muscle cells and the liver. Blood sugar continues to rise and the muscle relies on stored fat for energy.
You will need some injected insulin. Your injected insulin will be more efficient with regular exercise. This means that you will need a bit less insulin to control your blood sugar. This will results in fat loss, as there is less fat-building insulin in your bloodstream.
These are the conditions for better blood sugar control via exercise:
- blood sugar must not be too high
- prolonged exertion is recommended
- serum insulin levels must be adequate
Before you start exercise, contact your doctor and ask him about:
Blood pressure: high swings of blood pressure can cause haemorrhages and damage the eyes and other organs.
Eyes: check if you have retinopathy.
Heart: I recommend to see a cardiologist and test your calcium score. The cardiologist also needs to recommend you a target heart rate. The exercise program should be designed to your target.
Blood sugar: if blood sugar is below target, you need to stop exercise for a while.
In the next article, I cover the forms of exercise.