Diabetes is a very serious chronic disease that can cause debilitating health problems if it is not effectively managed. People with diabetes are at significantly higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, eye complications and blindness, foot problems, nerve damage, foot problems, and even dental problems like gingivitis. Medications can help to keep the blood sugar at healthier levels, but all medications have their own side-effects and risks. Regular exercise like the kind you get on an elliptical trainer can help to manage your diabetes while keeping medication use to a minimum.
Exercise can be very effective in managing diabetes. Exercise helps control Type 2 diabetes in the following ways.
- Improves your body’s use of insulin
- Increases bone density and strength
- Lowers blood pressure
- Lowers LDL cholesterol
- Improves blood circulation
- Promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety
- Increases energy
- Burns excess fat which helps to maintain a healthy body weight
- Increases muscle strength
So how does exercise help to lower blood sugar levels? Normally, insulin is released from the pancreas when the amount of sugar in the blood increases, such as after eating. Insulin stimulates the liver and muscles to take in excess glucose. This results in a lowering of the blood sugar level. As you exercise, your body needs extra energy for fuel. Continuous moderate exercising causes your muscles take up glucose at almost 20 times the normal rate.This helps lowers blood sugar levels, and at the same time insulin levels may drop in anyone not taking insulin so the risks of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is minimized.
What is the best type of exercise for managing diabetes? Research shows that strength training has a profound impact on helping people manage their diabetes. In a recent study of Hispanic men and women, 16 weeks of strength training produced dramatic improvements in sugar control that are comparable to taking diabetes medication. Aerobic exercise has also been shown to be effective in managing diabetes.
A workout on an elliptical trainer can provide a vigorous aerobic workout while also strengthening major muscle groups. Moving the pedals works the thighs, glutes, hamstrings, and the shin muscles. Most elliptical trainers have moveable arms that will work the upper body muscles as well, including the chest, arms, and back muscles. By varying the amount of resistance you can emphasize either muscle strengthening or aerobic exercise.
Diabetes is a way too common chronic disease which can cause serious health problems. An exercise program on a new or used elliptical can be an effective way of managing this disease.