Exercise Helps Diabetics Live Longer
Getting started is the hardest part, he says. "People always say they feel better when they are exercising. The type of exercise plan that you can stick to is one that can be incorporated into your daily routine -- whether walking to the office, walking to the car, or even walking around the house."
In an editorial accompanying the new study, Charles M. Clark Jr., MD, writes that "general admonishments to get more exercise are as unlikely to work as general advice to eat less or stop smoking. Specific programs need to be prescribed, and follow-up is essential." He is with the Richard Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.
"Type 2 diabetics usually are overweight, and exercise of any sort will help them lose weight and lower blood glucose levels," says Davida Kruger, MSN, RN, a diabetes nurse at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
"We're not talking about running marathons," she says. "Any sort of exercise will do, whether walking around the block, mall walking, or riding a stationary bicycle. We are talking about moving more than you are moving now."
Exercise will improve heart function, lower blood glucose levels, and help control weight, she adds. "It's of great benefit to patients, and if they monitor their blood sugar, they can really see the benefit."
"Exercise does make a difference," agrees Lisa Hoffman, MA, a New York City-based exercise physiologist and owner of Solo Fitness in New York. "I recommend a well-rounded, general program of aerobic activity and strength training. It's also important that people with diabetes make sure they have eaten before activity."
The benefits of exercise are well documented, but regular physical activity may be even more beneficial for type 2 diabetics.
Type 2 diabetes can often be controlled with weight loss, improved nutrition, and exercise, but sometimes their condition requires medications.
In a 12-year study, men with type 2 diabetes who were physically inactive were twice as likely to die compared to those who were active.