Diabetes: physical exercise helps in the treatment of the disease

Undoubtedly, it is already a mandatory part of the treatment of Type II Diabetes, regular physical activity, and the most recommended is the race, as the benefits are visible and enormous. The practice of physical activity results in more effective control of this disease, which is characterized by increased blood glucose (sugar) levels and the many complications, mainly vascular, of this unwanted elevation. We can divide the short-term (immediate) benefits and those that will come in the long run with the training.

the hallway and the bike lane me athlete (Photo: Getty Images)
Carrera helps in the treatment of Type II diabetes.
Short term: effects called metabolic effects, such as increased action of insulin (which metabolizes the sugar available in the body), increased glucose uptake in the muscles, which improves their performance and, finally, decreased blood glucose.

Long term: increase in cardiorespiratory functions, increase in good cholesterol (HDL), reduction in bad cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides, body fat, better control of blood pressure, reduction in anxiety and depression and, above all, a significant reduction in the development of complications related to cardiovascular diseases.

The ideal number of exercises to be carried out should be individualized, respecting the physical conditions and the presence of complications derived from diabetes, through medical evaluation and a deep, multi-professional team.

In general, the exercise should involve various forms and with the supervision/guidance of a physical educator:

1 — Aerobic exercises (running, swimming, cycling): the medical recommendation is to perform the total of 150 minutes/week, with a moderate intensity, limited by the heart rate obtained in the ergometric test, done with the presence of a cardiologist;

2 — Muscle strengthening: two/three 30-minute sessions per week, mainly on the muscular groups of the legs and arms. Attention to diabetics with eye problems of the retina: these exercises should be avoided;

3 — Flexibility and balance: five times a week, and the limit should be a slight feeling of discomfort.

A specialized medical evaluation must be performed before starting the exercise program, being essential to detect silent complications derived from diabetes and establish the medical limits, so as not to jeopardize the physical integrity of the practitioner. For diabetic beginners and non-competitive regular activity practitioners: consultation, electrocardiogram, body composition, ergometric test, blood and fundus tests. For athletes and high-performance athletes: add echocardiogram and ergo-spirometric test.

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