Monday, August 29, 2011
We all know exercise is good for us. It increases our longevity and quality of life through increasing our cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and power and psychological factors. Despite these factors, it is also particularly beneficial for diabetic sufferers.
In diabetes, the hormone insulin does not function as it should. In a healthy person, after consuming food, insulin is released from the pancreas and opens passageways in cells to allow glucose (energy) to flow in from the blood stream. When insulin is not working properly, this glucose builds up in the blood and cannot get into the cells. We get our energy from the glucose that goes into the cells; so when it can’t get in we feel hungry and without much energy. This sugar is then filtered out through our body in excess urine production making us feel thirsty and dehydrated.
Administration of intramuscular/subcutaneous insulin or oral hypoglycaemics assists in reducing the high blood sugar levels and increase movement of glucose into the cells. But what if there was a way to allow for movement of energy into cells without the need of these drugs?
Exercise is in fact the key. Whilst it should not completely replace these drugs, it serves the same very important role as these medications. It allows for transportation of glucose (energy) into the cells out of the bloodstream without the use of insulin.
In diabetes, exercise takes up the slack and takes over from the faulty insulin and unlocks the passageways in the cells for the glucose to travel through out of the bloodstream. This effect lasts above and beyond the duration of the exercise session. Studies have shown improved glucose transportation into the cells for up to 24-48 hours post exercise.
Thus, exercise is sparing the release of insulin, increasing usable energy supplies and decreasing signs and symptoms of low energy and dehydration. This is in addition to all the additional benefits exercise provides for healthy people. To date, studies have shown exercise is the preferred and most effective treatment method for diabetes.