Move More to Help Prevent Diabetes

brisk walking “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” - Benjamin Franklin

Maintaining a healthy weight through physical activity is one of the main strategies you can adopt to help prevent and lower your risk for diabetes. The good news it you don’t have to be an elite athlete – all it takes is moving more each day to positively influence your weight and overall health. Even activities as simple as walking have been shown to not only help individuals achieve a healthy weight level, but improve
overall metabolic efficiency.

Studies are just starting to show the preventive power of fitness. The famed Nurses' Health Study, for example, found that women who
worked up a sweat more than once a week reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 30 percent. And Chinese researchers determined that people with high blood sugar who engaged in moderate exercise (and made other lifestyle changes) were 40 percent less likely to develop full-blown diabetes.

Here’s a 3-step guide to getting in more activity each day:

  1. Walk at work. Take 15 minutes each day during your lunch break to walk. Even a modest pace can create physiological responses that improve glucose utilization in the body.
  2. Take the dogs out. When you get home in the evening, before you get wrapped up in household chores, take your dogs out for a nice brisk walk – it’s healthy for them and you! No pets? No problem. Pop in your headphones and walk around the block. Start with one lap and week by week, gradually increase as your fitness level improves.
  3. Strengthen up. A recent study of Hispanic men and women published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences showed that 16 weeks of strength training produced dramatic improvements in sugar control that were comparable to taking diabetes medication. Additionally, the study volunteers were stronger, gained muscle, lost body fat, had less depression, and felt much more self-confident. Strength training improves insulin sensitivity and as with walking/aerobic activity, enhances glucose tolerance.

Incorporate resistance-based movements each day that can include simple pushing, pulling and lifting.

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