- On February 25, 2019
Exercise- we know that it is great for getting in shape, relieving stress, and busting personal records. But have you ever thought of diabetes when thinking of exercise?
When it comes to diabetes, you may automatically think of sugar, carbs, or even checking blood sugars. But some studies show that exercise may be a key factor in the health of patients with gestational and Type 2 diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes develops during pregnancy, and like other kinds of diabetes, it affects how your body’s cells use sugar. It typically causes high blood sugar, which can cause complications in pregnancy and must be treated.
Pregnancies affected by gestational diabetes have an increased risk of complications such as excessive fetal growth, birth injuries, and preeclampsia. Babies of gestational diabetes pregnancies are also at increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes and Exercise
You may be wondering how does exercise fit in to gestational diabetes? The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that healthy pregnant women reach at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Studies have found that only vigorous exercise has been associated with decreased odds of excess gestational weight gain, which may cause complications with pregnancy.
One study comparing active lifestyles and sedentary lifestyles showed highly active women were less likely to have gestational diabetes. Research shows that women with Gestational Diabetes are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
It has been found that few individuals with type 2 diabetes exercise, even though exercise is a preventative measure and way to treat type 2 diabetes. Getting active when you have type 2 diabetes is an important part of your treatment plan, just like maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is. Staying active actually helps keep your blood glucose level in a healthy range, which prevents long term complications! You may wonder, ‘How can exercise even do that?’. Basically, type 2 diabetics carry too much glucose in their blood because their body doesn’t make enough insulin, or because their body doesn’t use insulin correctly. Either way, exercising can reduce the glucose in the blood by muscles throughout the body using up that glucose. Aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, running, swimming, biking, basketball) is recommended for its beneficial effects on glucose control for type 2 diabetes along with dietary intervention from a Registered Dietitian. Aiming for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week is a great goal for a type 2 diabetic interested in getting active. Before you start a new exercise plan, ask your doctor what is right for you!
Written by: Rachael Day
Dietetic Intern, Southern Regional Medical Center
Graduation date: May 2019
West Virginia University, BS in Human Nutrition and Foods
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