Exercise is a very important part of then treatment of diabetes mellitus. Exercise can be light, moderate or vigorous, depending on the tenacity of the patient. However, some kind of exercise is must, or there could be serious complications.
How does Exercise Help in Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder caused due to the presence of excess sugar in the blood. This is caused due to the lack of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreatic gland.
Exercise can definitely not help in any way for the increase in the production of insulin, or for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in any way. However, there are many complications associated with diabetes mellitus. A sufficient amount of exercise per day helps to get rid of these complications.
In diabetes mellitus, one serious condition that occurs is the buildup of excessive fat in the arteries. This happens as a direct consequence of the improper utilization of carbohydrates from the diet. When fats accumulate in the arteries, there could be drastic cardiovascular complications such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and myocardial infarctions.
Exercising in good measure everyday helps to reduce this accumulation of fat in the arteries. It keeps the weight under check and helps in the proper utilization of calories.
Functions of Exercise in Diabetes Mellitus
The following are the ways by which exercise helps in case of diabetes mellitus.
(1) Increased Functioning of Insulin
Exercise can in no way increase the amount of insulin produced in the body. But exercise can definitely improve the way the body utilizes this amount. Exercise helps to increase the peripheral vascularity of the body, which helps in utilizing glucose efficiently into the bloodstream, despite a reduction in the amount of insulin. Thus, exercise helps to a great extent in diabetes mellitus type 1, where insulin is almost absent in the body. Even in the case of diabetes mellitus type 2, the little amount of insulin present increases in its total effectiveness.
(2) Control of Obesity
Obesity is a very serious condition where diabetes mellitus is concerned. Obesity is found to be present especially in diabetes mellitus type 2. When a person is obese, the reception of their glucose-utilizing cells to insulin decreases. Due to this, the glucose is not utilized properly and it remains residual in the blood.
It is observed that when people lose weight through an exercise regimen, their diabetes mellitus is not only drastically reduced, but it may also be cured. Since the cells become more responsive to insulin, there is glucose reduction from the blood.
(3) Reduction in Cardiovascular Complications
Diabetes mellitus is responsible for the deposition of fat in the blood vessels. This reduces the blood flow in them, due to which there can be several cardiovascular disturbances. Heart diseases are very commonly associated with diabetes mellitus. By exercising, the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries can be reduced drastically. This makes the arteries freer and better circulation of blood can take place in them. As a result, the heart becomes healthier too. The risks of high blood pressure and myocardial infarction are greatly reduced.
(4) Reduced Need for Medication
It is popularly known that diabetes mellitus is a very expensive disease, and this is an absolute fact. The insulin injections regularly required for diabetes mellitus apart from the other associated drugs can cost a bomb. By exercising, the person is highly reducing the need for both injections and antibiotics.
(5) Mental Wellness
Exercising puts the mind at ease. Apart from the positive benefits it provides in diabetes mellitus, it also brings the mind to a normal state of functioning and reduces cases of depression and stress. The person learns to cope with the disease in a much better and optimistic way.
Precautions with Exercise in Diabetes Mellitus
One can never stress enough on the role of exercise in diabetes mellitus. However, it is also very important to remember that there is a limit beyond which exercising should not be stressed. The following precautions must be borne in mind:-
- Exercise must be done in moderation. It should never exceed beyond 30 minutes each session.
- Warming up exercises must be done for the first five minutes, and cooling down exercises for the last five minutes. This helps the body to adapt to the physical strain better.
- Jogging and brisk walking are the best forms of exercise for diabetic patients.
- There is a heart rate limitation to be kept in mind. This is calculated as follows: Subtract your age from 220. This number is called as the target heart rate. Your heart rate during exercising should not go beyond 70% of this number.
- According to age and physical capacity, the person should choose whether to do light, moderate or severe exercises. Severe exercises are advisable only for youngsters.
Another thing to keep in mind is that exercise must be done on a regular basis. If there are gaps in between, then the benefits of the earlier exercises are lost. Hence, there must be a regular routine. It is best to do exercise thrice a week, i.e. on every alternate day to get the best benefits without exerting too much.