Even if you hate exercise, chances are that you hate one thing even more. That thing is being out of shape so you can’t do those things you really want to do. Chronic diseases can sometimes be discouraging, so it’s good to see evidence of how people with Type 2 diabetes can make real changes. Evidence from one particular study shows how diabetics can improve their own body chemistry.
Researchers in Denmark performed an interesting experiment looking at how muscles use sugar before and after endurance exercise training. The results were published in October 2010 in the journal Diabetologia. The study was completed at the Diabetes Research Center, Department of Endocrinology, Odense University Hospital in Odense, Denmark.
Biopsies were taken from a muscle in the thigh in each of the 13 obese diabetics and the 13 obese non-diabetics, before and after 10 weeks of endurance exercise training. Before the training, muscles in the diabetics were shown to have a poor ability to utilize sugar, to take up sugar from their bloodstream. In both groups, after endurance training the muscles increased their protein content and became better able to use the sugar.
Endurance training, as the name implies, is exercise designed to increase stamina.
It can be as simple as an exercise called wall sitting:
- stand with your back against a wall with your feet spread to about shoulder width
- squat to a sitting position and hold the position for 30 seconds
- do this every day and gradually lengthen your time to one minute, then see how long past a minute you can endure
- Or try walking:
- as fast as you can for as long as you can… at least three times per week
- see how much your time increases as you continue walking
- Or swimming and more:
- swimming laps three times a week will also increase endurance. Count how many laps you can swim in the beginning and push to increase a little each week
- ride a bicycle for a few minutes at a time and increase your time as your fitness level increases
If those sound too boring, square dancing can be a good alternative. An Israeli folk dance called the hora is great to use because it can be danced by any number of people and has no complicated moves to memorize. Hold both arms out at your sides and sidestep to the left. Now put your right foot behind your left foot and sidestep again to the left. Kick your right foot in front of you and to the left, then kick your left foot in front of you to the right. Repeat as many times as you can. Now find some friends, join hands, and do the hora in a circle.
And you thought exercise couldn’t be fun.
See your doctor first: Before you embark on a new exercise program, be sure to get your doctor’s okay. Is your heart up to it? Are your joints ready? How vulnerable are to to high or low blood sugar levels?