Happy New Year! With it being January 2013, this is a perfect time to make your New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Losing weight makes it on the list of the 10 most common New Year’s resolutions; however, it is also listed on the most broken New Year’s resolutions. The high rate of failure for this resolution is because of improperly trying to lose weight. It is difficult, to rapidly change diet and making time for exercise in the beginning of January, after eating all the delicious foods over the holidays, and having relaxation time with family and friends. Many people are seeing the ads on TV for miracle weight loss supplements or other dieting fads that for the average person do not work, so the goal to lose weight usually ends up in failure. The best way to lose weight is by exercising and eating healthy balanced meals.
Weight loss is one of the best and most effective ways of controlling and preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. In fact, in 2002, the Diabetes Prevention Program found that exercising and eating a healthy diet is twice as effective as controlling diabetes when compared to the most popular type 2 diabetes medication called metformin.
To quickly review the types of diabetes:
• Type 1 diabetes is due to the pancreas not functioning properly to produce enough insulin to control blood glucose levels. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood.
• Type 2 diabetes is due to the body not responding to the insulin, which results in high blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in patients older than 40 years old.
How does exercise help to control and prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes?
• Exercise builds muscle. Muscle needs glucose to survive, so by having more muscle, the body will be able to use higher glucose levels.
• The body consumes more energy when exercising. The body’s energy source is glucose, so more glucose is taken from the blood stream and used to keep the body from shutting down.
• Losing weight allows insulin to better do its job of decreasing and controlling blood glucose levels.
• AMP kinase is an enzyme that works to transport glucose from the blood into the muscles, without needing to use insulin; exercise increases the amount AMP kinase available for the body to use.
How much should you exercise to get these benefits?
Before beginning your exercise program, visit your doctor to talk about your plan. Mayo Clinic recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, which may include fast walking, jogging, swimming, or biking.
If you are a diabetic, and are taking medications, make sure that you measure your blood glucose levels 30 minutes prior to beginning exercise and then once again immediately before starting the work out. It is important to make sure the blood glucose level is not too high or too low; blood glucose levels in the range of 100-250 mg/dL is adequate and will be safe for exercise. For longer work out sessions, you will also need to check your blood glucose levels every 30 minutes; if your blood glucose level is below 70 mg/dL stop exercising immediately and increase your blood glucose levels by taking 2-5 glucose tablets, drinking juice or soda, or having 5 pieces of hard candy. Lastly, measure your blood glucose level after exercise to make sure it is stable. Good luck with your 2013 New Year’s resolution!

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