Quick Bursts of Exercise Can Help Diabetics’ Hearts

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Do you often keep an eye on your glucose levels? If you do, it’s a great thing for you. But, have you ever wondered about your cardiovascular health?


Blood vessels play an important role in glucose control as they carry glucose in the blood as well as hormones such as insulin, especially in diabetes. For people with prediabetes and diabetes, the adoption and maintenance of physical activity could make a big difference in the management of their blood glucose and overall health.



Frequent, short exercise is even better than longer and fewer workouts


Recently, a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, showed that frequent, short exercises may be better for diabetes patients than longer and fewer workouts, and that may reduce their risk of heart disease.


In the study, the researchers – doctoral candidate Frances Taylor and Taylor’s team – required the participants to finish three tests.


In one test, participants sat for eight hours without taking any exercise breaks. In a second test, they took breaks from sitting by doing three minutes of exercises that included squats, leg lifts and calf raises every 30 minutes. In a third test, they took six-minute exercise breaks every hour.



As a result, researchers found that blood vessel function improved significantly more with exercise every 30 minutes. The finding suggested that the frequency of the activity break may be more important than how long it lasts, the researchers said in a journal news release.


Benefits of exercise for individuals with diabetes


Diabetics can take several types of physical exercises, including aerobic exercise, resistance exercise, flexibility and balance exercise, and so on.


Aerobic exercise is incredibly beneficial for helping control diabetes. Aerobic exercises, such as walking, cycling, jogging, and swimming, can increase insulin sensitivity, reactivity of blood vessels, lung function, immune function and cardiac output.   



Similar to aerobic exercise, resistance training can enhance insulin sensitivity, daily energy expenditure, and quality of life. Furthermore, resistance training is likely to increase muscle strength, lean muscle mass, and bone mineral density.


Other types of exercises can also help. Flexibility and balance exercises are likely important for older adults with diabetes; Stretching your muscles regularly not only helps to improve flexibility and range of motion, which are common problems in people with type 2 diabetes.


What foods can you eat if you have diabetes?




Of course, apart from physical activity, following a healthy meal plan can also help you keep your blood glucose level in a proper range. Eat foods with heart-healthy fats, including canola, olive oil, salmon, tuna and avocado. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages. Consider using a sugar substitute in your coffee or tea.


All in all, physical activity and exercise should be recommended to all individuals with diabetes as a way of keeping healthy, but each individual should apply the recommendations that are tailored to meet their specific needs.

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