There are over 65 million people with diabetes in India and far more peoples with pre-diabetes (the stage before diabetes with higher than normal blood sugar levels and pre-diabetic HbA1C readings).
Diabetes has become a lot more common in the younger generation, esp between 20-40 years, and the diabetic population in India is said to cross 100 million by 2035, but why?
The answer is our genetic framework and our lifestyle. As most of us move towards urbanization, our bodies take a toll with our demanding and busy lifestyles.
Our bodies are designed for movement, our ancestors used to be gatherers & huntsmen and, unlike what we are now, they used to be constantly on the move in search of food and basic necessities.
They used to live on simple foods and lead a healthier and fitter lifestyle far more in sync and synergy with nature.
What has happened today is that our genes are the same as it used to be then but they are used to more physical activity and simpler foods and respond better to exercise and unprocessed natural foods.
So how does physical activity benefit in diabetes?
To understand this better, we need to first know about diabetes and the glucose metabolism. The food that we eat is broken down into glucose which is then used by our body for energy.
Your muscles play a major role in the storage and disposal of this glucose. When you lead a sedentary life, your muscles become inactive, the muscles tend to store less glucose and make your body less sensitive to insulin (the hormone which enables your body to use glucose).
This way more amount of glucose remains in your blood and causes your blood sugar levels to spike.
New findings suggest that diet and exercise have the highest benefits in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. For people with diabetes, exercise helps improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps bringing down the sugar levels.
Even moderate exercise 4-5 times a week can have significant benefits. Here are some simple tips to help you get started:
- Take the stairs, avoid using the lift.
- Get up from your workseat at least once every hour. Do some stretching or walk up to a colleague.
- Make use of every opportunity to move about. One of the easiest way would be to avoid having tea/snacks at your workstation and try taking a small walk to the canteen/ cafeteria.
- Join your office Table Tennis/ badminton Team/ Soccer Team and get involved in activities.
- Start a walking group with colleagues or friends or neighbors.
- Join a gym or an exercise group
Exercise is never a substitute for poor eating habits. Combined with the right advice, foods and medications, it can help most people live longer and healthier life with diabetes.
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