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Can Exercise Help Prevent Diabetes

Apr 4th, 2013

can exercise help prevent diabetesThe number of Americans with Type 2 diabetes continues to rise every year. As we grow old, our risk for the disease will increase unless we do something about it. The American Diabetes Association emphasizes healthy diet and regular exercise to help reduce our risk for diabetes. However, can exercise help prevent diabetes. well,  the following are important benefits of exercise.

Effects on blood sugar regulation

Exercise makes your muscles more sensitive to insulin, a compound that causes cells to absorb glucose from the blood. During intense physical activities, your body uses high quantities of glucose for energy. Exercise also increases blood flow, making more glucose readily available for muscles to absorb. Lack of physical activity may lead decreased insulin sensitivity, a common problem among older individuals. This problem can be readily reversed by resuming or increasing exercise levels.

Exercise also increases the levels of AMP kinase, an enzyme that carries out an alternate glucose transport pathway. This allows glucose to enter cells without the aid of insulin.

Effects on fat metabolism

Certain fat storage and distribution patterns can be a warning sign for health risks. Stored fat around the abdomen is often associated with other health risk factors such as high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar levels. Visceral fat or those found around the organs cause more problems compared to subcutaneous fat found just beneath the skin. Exercise has been found to promote abdominal fat loss in problem areas and shrink subcutaneous fat cells.

Effects on muscle physiology

Exercise, especially weight training, helps make your muscle become more sensitive and responsive to insulin. It increases capillary density and greater blood supply, leading to lower blood sugar levels and reduced risk of diabetes.

Exercise must be done regularly in order to get the full benefits. However, the short- and medium-term benefits such as increased muscle mass and higher metabolic rate can help control blood sugar at all time, even during rest.


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