Besides Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, November is also known as National Diabetes Month. Though there are two types of diabetes, this article focuses on Type II diabetes. If you have it you’re feeling the effects of decreased quality of life. This is quite unfortunate, as it is probably the most preventable of diseases along with heart disease. Interestingly, Type II diabetes correlates closely with heart disease.
In a world of traditional Western medicine, the medical and pharmaceutical companies are constantly on a search to find drugs to treat Type II diabetes. Interestingly, there are ways to reverse the effects of diabetes without using pills.
Before I go any further, I feel compelled to tell you that if you think you have diabetes (or have been diagnosed), you need to see a medical professional regularly. Preferably, you would see an endocrinologist. Any way you look at it, you will most likely need medication (like glucophage, metfomin etc.). Also, I need to remind you of the role of insulin in the body, which is to allow blood sugar to be extracted into the muscle.
To truly beat diabetes, you must eat right and get physical. As always you need to incorporate the synergistic effect of resistance training (weight lifting), cardiovascular exercise, and supportive nutrition if you want to beat diabetes (related article). Every endocrinologist I have known concurs. Here is the first reason why:
The Insulin Effect of Exercise- When you exercise (with weights and with cardiovascular training), your muscles do a very unique thing. It starts to extract blood sugar without the use of insulin. More interestingly, the body will begin to release glucose (blood sugar) from the liver to balance things out. (That’s a really good thing .) Even better, when you lift weights and increase your muscle tone, your muscle will extract more blood sugar even at rest.
Studies show, that many Type II diabetics are able to decrease the amount of diabetic medication as a result of exercise (at some point you usually have to). This is because you become less insulin resistant. You may even begin to experience fatigue because the medication is greater than the resistance of insulin, thereby bringing your blood sugar too low. Most doctors recognize this right away and are often thrilled that their patients are making better choices and become healthier. Think about the money you’ll save medications.
There are even some reports that when caught early, diabetes can solely be treated with exercise and eating right. This can prevent you from taking med’s and can possibly create physical changes (hormonal shifts) in the body that makes your insulin regulation normal again. Don’t forget that when you do the right things you will also lose the “extra” body fat which contributes to developing Type II diabetes. However, it should be noted that being overweight is not the sole cause of Type II diabetes. Conversely, it highly correlates to Type II diabetes because the same lifestyle choices lead to the same symptoms and illnesses. It is for this reason that weight loss alone is not enough.
If you or someone you know has diabetes, this is the time to take back control of your body and improve your quality of life. Make every effort you can to fight the disease instead of letting it defeat you. A long-term, comprehensive fitness and nutrition program is what you need. If you don’t know where to start, seeking the help of a professional fitness coach (at Fitness Together of course) is a good idea! Your fitness and nutrition program has to evolve and be more progressive. Quick weight loss gimmicks do not work long term.
Kelly Huggins, A-CPT
Exercise Science, B.S.
Fitness Together – Fitness/Nutrition Coach
Learn more about our Type 2 Diabetes Program and Study. (Note: FT Studios in MA & RI have a few slots open for participants for our study.)