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Diabetes Fitness

09/11/2011

  • Millie Jones:

    My self-esteem wasn’t great.  I didn’t feel good.  I didn’t sleep well. ... I felt draggy all the time.

  • Narrator:

    Millie Jones was determined not to let her type 2 diabetes get the better of her.

  • Jones:

    Then I heard about this program that Dr. Colberg was doing and it was a research study on diabetes.

  • Narrator:

    The ongoing study examines the relationship between exercise and its effect on diabetes.  It is led by author and Old Dominion University professor of exercise science Sheri Colberg.

  • Sheri Colberg, PhD:

    I think that exercise is honestly the best medicine that there is for diabetes and a whole host of other diseases. When you increase the amount of muscle mass that you have, you’re able to store more carbohydrate, and that helps get it out of your bloodstream and lower your blood sugars.

  • Narrator:

    Prolonged higher blood sugar in the bloodstream can lead to host of chronic health problems.  But many people not used to an active lifestyle find it hard to get motivated and are often discouraged when results don’t come fast enough.

  • Lawrence Sanders, MD:

    It’s almost like growing a plant. You’ve got to take a little bit of care for it every day, but no matter how much care you provide you can’t make it grow faster. But if you don’t care for it, it won’t grow at all.

  • Colberg:

    One of the biggest problems that people have with exercise is that they start out too intensely and it’s either not fun, or they end up getting injured.  

  • Narrator:

    Dr. Colberg suggests incorporating more movement in everyday activities.  Even the act of standing can burn more calories.

  • Colberg:

    You actually are working those muscles to stand upright.  And then think about taking more steps and just moving any way you can during the day, even if it’s just doing stretching, standing up and stretching.  Or  fidgeting -- fidgeting can help expend energy.  

  • Narrator:

    And more good news: Recent studies show that exercise may also help curb appetite.

  • Jones:

    I’m not always craving and hungry like I used to be. It’s more of a "what do I need to eat and when."

  • Narrator:

    But make no mistake: Taking on an active lifestyle does require commitment. The idea is to work your way up to planned activity like walking for around 30 minutes a day, even if that 30 minutes is broken up in, say, 10 or 15 minute increments throughout the day.  Millie likes to mix it up with racquetball, tennis, and weights, and now works out for an hour or more on most days.

  • Jones:

    I made the time.  I realized that I had to make the time.  That if I didn’t make the time then I was going to continue to feel bad, I was going to continue to pay for medications and be on medication, that my health was going to take a toll.  

  • Colberg:

    Can you really consider it a cure? Probably not.  But it is a disease that is completely manageable and you can control it to the point where it’s almost like you don’t have it anymore.

  • Jones:

    I mean, it’s amazing to know that you have been successful at, at not giving in to something and beating something.

  • Narrator:

    For WebMD, I’m Damon Meharg.