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American Diabetes Month: Fitness Plays Key Role in Prevention, Management

November is American Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness around the prevalence of the disease as well as ways to help with prevention and management.

As the American Diabetes Association notes: “Nearly half of all American adults have diabetes or prediabetes, yet most don’t understand the life-long burden of this chronic illness or the 24/7 work it takes to effectively manage diabetes. This campaign asks everyone affected by diabetes—whether that means people living with diabetes, caregivers or those who are at risk of developing diabetes—to put on their capes and share how they’re taking a stand. Diabetes is a complex health condition that affects millions of people and without proper management, can lead to serious complications.”

Said the Association’s Chief Scientific, Medical and Mission Officer William T. Cefalu, MD: “People living with diabetes face enormous challenges each day to manage their diabetes and they must do so while living their normal lives. We recognize the incredible strength they show, and stand with them to help stop the diabetes epidemic. From the mom who takes her insulin shot on the way to pick up her daughter from ballet, to the businessman who prepares his mother’s meals and her diabetes medicine each day before leaving for work, the stories of everyday people who live with or love someone with diabetes remind all of us that they are heroes.”

As the ADA adds: “Exercise, or physical activity, includes anything that gets you moving, such as walking, dancing, or working in the yard. Regular physical activity is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes and those at risk for diabetes.”

“That doesn’t mean you need to run a marathon or bench-press 300 pounds. The goal is to get active and stay active by doing things you enjoy, from gardening to playing tennis to walking with friends. Wondering how much activity you should be doing and what your options are?”

Some activities noted by the ADA can include:

  • “Aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility exercises/stretching, balance exercises, and activity throughout the day are the types of activities we recommend for people with diabetes. On the following pages, we show you how you can incorporate more movement into your day.”
  • Walking: “If you’re not used to being active, you can start with 10 minutes of walking each day and build as your fitness improves. Check out our starter walking plan.”
  • “Aerobic exercise helps your body use insulin better. It makes your heart and bones strong, relieves stress, improves blood circulation, and reduces your risk for heart disease by lowering blood glucose and blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.”