Is cycling good for diabetic patients?

Diabetes: Lowering blood sugar with exercise

Status: 03/21/2017 11:14 am | archive

Almost ten million diabetics live in Germany, and every year 300,000 patients in this country are confronted with the diagnosis of "diabetes" for the first time. From now on, they not only have to adjust their diet, but usually also inject insulin sooner or later and constantly check their blood sugar levels - an enormous burden in everyday life. But exercise can also lower blood sugar levels.

Movement is free and almost free of side effects

Patients with so-called old-age diabetes, type 2 diabetes mellitus, are usually treated with tablets for a long time until they too have to rely on insulin injections at some point. All too often, one particularly effective therapy option is overlooked: physical exercise. It is rightly considered the strongest natural medicine, is free and almost free of side effects. And it is particularly effective for type 2 diabetes mellitus, especially since lack of exercise and obesity are the main causes of adult diabetes.

Lack of exercise leads to insulin resistance

Physical activity improves the sensitivity of the body's tissues to the metabolic hormone insulin, which controls the absorption of sugar into the cells and thus their energy supply. Chronic lack of exercise means that the cells respond less and less to insulin - insulin resistance develops. This means that the pancreas has to produce more and more insulin in order to ensure the energy supply of the cells. But that doesn't work in the long run.

Insulin resistance: higher body weight and deposits

At some point the pancreas is no longer able to meet the increasing need for insulin, the patient becomes a diabetic, even though he has even more insulin in the blood than healthy people. The increased insulin level also affects other areas: the body stores more fat, the body weight increases and dangerous deposits form in the vessels. What used to be an advantage when people had to go through famine again and again has become a problem in today's sedentary world with food that is always available.

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Improve blood sugar levels through exercise

But with regular exercise, the fateful development can be stopped: Every physical activity brings sugar into the body cells, because as soon as the muscles work, they need glucose (grape sugar) as "fuel", which they first get from their own sugar and starch stores in the cells Respectively. If these are empty, the cells get the necessary supplies from the blood and the blood sugar level drops. This effect lasts for up to two days after a strenuous workout. This is how long it takes the muscle cells to replenish their empty energy stores with sugar from the blood.

With regular exercise, diabetics can often improve their blood sugar levels to such an extent that they no longer need medication or need less medication. Insulin resistance is reduced, the immune system is strengthened and adipose tissue is broken down. And anyone who has not yet had diabetes can effectively prevent it from developing by exercising.

Ideal: 30 minutes of exercise four times a week

The ideal amount is four times at least 30 minutes of exercise or at least conscious exercise per week. But not every sport is equally suitable:

  • Anything that trains endurance is good, for example running, cycling or swimming.
  • Anyone suffering from high blood pressure should avoid strength-based sports such as climbing or weightlifting, because holding exercises cause blood pressure to rise sharply.
  • If you can't get yourself up to sport, you should simply exercise more consciously in everyday life, for example using the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Small errands can be done just as easily by bike as by car. Those who travel by bus or train can get off one stop before their destination and walk the rest of the way. You can park your car a few streets away.

Important rules for diabetics who take part in exercise and who inject insulin

  • Keep a diabetes and sports diary.
  • Take the SOS sports set with you with sufficient emergency BE (soft drinks, juice, glucose gel, dextrose).
  • Determine the blood sugar level before, during and after physical activity: An initial value of 150-180 mg / dl is ideal, and in dangerous sports (such as climbing, diving, white water canoeing, hang-gliding) it can also be higher, as excitement can increase the value.
  • Adjust the insulin dose to the time, duration and intensity of training and / or
  • Increase your carbohydrate intake: take slow-acting carbohydrates (muesli) 1 to 2 hours before the start of exercise, fast-acting carbohydrates (dextrose, juice) immediately before exercise.
  • Drink a lot! With glucose levels above 160 mg / dl, diabetics need more fluids than healthy people. Drinks containing carbohydrates are best suited: They meet the higher energy and fluid needs in equal measure.
  • The muscle replenishing effect can lead to hypoglycaemia even 48 hours after exercise.

Fitness apps can motivate

Pedometers or fitness apps on smartphones can encourage motivation to exercise regularly. By the way, a dog is stronger than any weaker self and an ideal fitness coach, especially for older people: He wants and has to go for a walk several times a day - regardless of the weather, whether his or her owner feels like it or not. And by the way, he protects his people from diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, cardiovascular diseases and other civilization ailments.

Proper nutrition in diabetes

Around half of diabetics (type 2) could reduce the disease through exercise and a conscious diet. Even moderate weight loss can help, especially in overweight diabetics. Abdominal fat in particular has to be reduced as it produces inflammatory signal substances and promotes insulin resistance. What to watch out for:

Eat regular meals and take several hour breaks between meals. Because only in these short fasting intervals can the body burn fat.

  • The main meals should consist of a filling, high-fiber diet with a high protein content (legumes, fish, meat, dairy products) and plenty of vegetables.
  • Avoid snacks and snacks. Carbohydrates should be preferred in the complex variant, i.e. as whole grain products. White flour and sugar cause blood sugar to rise sharply.
  • Avoid fast food and ready-made products. They often contain large amounts of hidden sugars and unhealthy fats. Alcohol is also a big calorie trap, and it also inhibits fat burning.

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Visit | 03/21/2017 | 8:15 pm