The Significance of Exercise in Diabetes Management: 2 Key Reasons

The Significance of Exercise in Diabetes Management: 2 Key Reasons

Diabetes results when our bodies cannot make enough insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels, or the insulin produced isn’t effective. The homeostatic reference requires the body to maintain a constant internal body environment and when there is an imbalance, the body has natural mechanisms to counter the imbalance.

In the case of sugar control, when the body detects an increase in blood sugar levels, insulin is produced to trigger glucose uptake from the blood by cells. On the other hand, a lower detection of blood sugar in the system triggers the release and breakdown of glucagon into glucose which raises blood sugar levels.

UK Diabetes at a Glance

Diabetes has been on the rise in the recent past. In the UK for instance, according to Diabetes UK, it is estimated that 4.6 million people are living with diabetes with a total of 3.7 million diagnoses made. A further 12.3 million people are at risk of type 2 diabetes. This is staggering.

At a higher risk of diabetes type 2 are people from Black African, African Caribbean and South Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) backgrounds. It is anticipated that they are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes from a younger age. There are a lot of reasons being floated for the same but we will not discuss them in this article.

The good news though is that we have the power to prevent ourselves from becoming victims of diabetes and if we are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, we can reverse our situation and become diabetes free. The antidote is exercise.

It is important to know the symptoms so that you can be able to flag diabetes at the onset. They include frequent urination, sudden weight loss, always being tired, wounds that won’t heal, blurry vision, sexual problems, always being hungry, vaginal infections, numb tingling hands or legs and feeling thirsty always.

Exercise and weight loss

According to the National Library of Medicine, there is an increased risk of diabetes 2 diagnosis for overweight people. This is due to insulin resistance by the body and low production of insulin by the β cells in the pancreas. It has been found that insulin resistance leads to elevated fatty acids in the plasma, causing decreased glucose transport into the muscle cells, as well as increased fat breakdown which leads to increased insulin production.

The failure of an individual’s body to secrete enough insulin to match the insulin resistance means that they may have problems with glycemic balance. Exercise thus becomes a crucial point for overweight individuals to manage their health and diabetes by extension.

Exercise is defined as a planned physical activity carried out to sustain or improve health or fitness. Moderate exercise plays a pivotal role in breaking down the sugars in the blood to release energy. This lowers blood sugar levels. High-intensity exercise may end up triggering glucagon release to be burned to release more energy to match the sugar expenditure.

Both exercises have the benefits of glucose fluctuations depending on the need which can help normalize the body’s response to managing glucose levels in the body.

According to the Clinical Medicine Journal, interventions involving physical activity have been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus by between 47 and 58% in high-risk groups over longer sustained periods, as long as 10 years or more in some cases.

Exercises for a healthy lifestyle
Exercise is important in diabetes management

Exercise as a Counter to Sedentary Lifestyle

We can agree, to a large extent, that diabetes is more of a lifestyle disease much as genetics has also been pointed to play a part. A life of inactivity means our bodies have fewer opportunities of developing countermeasures to regulate things such as sugar levels in the body.

For instance, eating a high carbohydrate and glucose-rich diet with less activity means the body has excess sugar in the body. Coupled with a lack of activity, the body may end up failing to match the rate of sugar intake, sugar uptake and rate of excess sugar flushing out of the system which may end up exposing an individual to diabetes development.

 We now live a life of convenience thanks to digital technology to the extent that we rarely even take a walk, yet our diets are enriched with poison. Exercise not only helps us with a healthy body but also reduces our exposure to cardiovascular diseases and other lifestyle diseases as well including high blood pressure. It is proven beyond doubt that eating healthy and exercising regularly can help keep the doctor away and give us a chance to enjoy diabetes and other lifestyle diseases-free life.

According to the centre for disease control (CDC), walking briskly, doing housework, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming, bicycling and playing sports can help you get going if you are looking for simple yet energy-intensity exercise options. Let us exercise regularly for a healthier life.

All the best to a healthy rich lifestyle folks.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Manufacturing, Technology, Innovation, Governance, Management and International Emerging Issues. For featuring, promotions or support, reach out to us at
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