This week's blog focuses on how whole fitness can impact diabetes.
It seems you can't pick up a newspaper or magazine without seeing a feature on the diabetes epidemic overwhelming the U.S. and other westernized nations.
Although 8% of the population has this disease, there's still a lot of confusion as to what is diabetes.
There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and gestational. All are caused by the body's inability to make or utilize insulin. Without enough insulin glucose stays in the blood and can subsequently cause damage to the kidneys, heart, eyes, nerves and other organs.
Type 2 diabetes is onset in adulthood and although there are several factors involved, the best predictor of developing this form of the disease is being overweight or obese and having a sedentary lifestyle.
There are other factors like the existence of high blood pressure, age and family heredity, but as a person diagnosed with diabetes, you as the individual still have the power to impact the disease. In treatment of diabetes, whole fitness techniques meaning diet, fitness and attitude, can be key to minimizing the effects and subsequently, the insulin dependency.
Additionally, adopting positive whole fitness behaviors can help with the following:
1. Improving blood glucose management
Activity makes your body more sensitive to the insulin you make. Activity also burns glucose (calories). Both actions lower blood glucose.
2. Taking less insulin or diabetes medication
Activity can lower blood glucose and weight. Both of these may lower how much insulin or diabetes medication you need to take.
3. Losing weight and keeping it off
Activity burns calories. If you burn enough calories, you'll trim a few pounds. Stay active and you'll keep off the weight!
4. Managing stress
Stress not only affects your blood sugar levels, but also your ability to remember other key components like medication. Exercise can relieve stress, but I would always suggest opening your mind to other areas like dance, yoga even meditation. A nice stroll with a friend or pet provides both activity and stress release.
5. Meeting dietary needs and goals
Eating to impact diabetes in the most beneficial way is key. Practice eating several meals of wide variety, including fruit and vegetables, and distributing them every 3-5 hours. Keep the meals low in added sugar and fats and high in fiber.
For people with diabetes, the total amounts of carbohydrates consumed each day must be monitored carefully.
Of the different components of nutrition -- carbohydrates, fats, and proteins -- carbohydrates have the greatest influence on blood sugar levels. The foods recommended for a diet to control blood glucose (or sugar) are good for those with diabetes... and everyone else!
Managing the disease of diabetes is well within our control. Never let the disease define you. While you may be a person who has diabetes, but by considering yourself a diabetic, you allow the disease to take the forefront.
Stay informed and stay ahead the disease.
NOTE: Any exercise or nutrition program being used in conjunction with disease treatment should be recommended or supervised by the client's physician.
Alicia is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer and a Weight & Lifestyle Management consultant. The owner of Evolution Total Wellness in New York is also the author of "Oscar & Otis, Fat Fighters." For more information, visit OscarandOtis.com.