Throughout my years as a trainer, one aspect of fitness that has regularly impressed me is the positive effect exercise and nutrition can have on a variety of physical conditions.
These conditions include but are certainly not limited to stress, sleep, lung capacity, mental alertness, coronary artery disease, circulation of blood, and symptom reversal of Type 2 diabetes.
One particular statistic is the number of Americans who have contracted Type 2 diabetes. The facts are that 33.3 percent of Americans are overweight, and 8.3 percent of the American population suffer from a combination of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes does not only affect those who are young and overweight; it can also include both the thin and elderly.
If you were to conclude that there is some kind of relationship between weight gain and diabetes, more specifically Type 2 diabetes, you would be correct. The easiest way to understand the disease is to understand the roles of the pancreas, insulin, glucose (sugar) and blood cells.
The pancreas, a gland located on the right side of the body behind the stomach, is responsible for producing insulin — a hormone. The key role of insulin is to help move glucose (blood sugar) into our cells where it can be used for energy. In Type 2 diabetes, increased adipose fat makes the body resistant to insulin's effectiveness at moving sugar into the cells.
The bottom line is, when the body becomes unable to utilize insulin in cells, too much sugar remains in the blood stream — a condition characterized as being "insulin resistant."
This condition will perpetuate itself not only in the diabetic, but also among individuals who indulge on highly sugared drinks, white flour products and simple starches. The ongoing process of either insulin spiking from a poor diet rich in simple sugars or a clinical diagnosis of diabetes can often result in the consumption of grater amounts of food (and the calories that come with it) to raise insulin to the proper levels.
Regardless of the type of diabetes and symptoms from which an individual suffers (such as minimized sensation in feet and hands, or "neuropathy," fatigue, difficulty in wound healing) physicians and fitness trainers are emphatic about the role exercise plays in minimizing these symptoms.
In many cases, a focused exercise regimen can lessen the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes to the point that medication can be reduced or eliminated, and with it, countless side effects.
While exercise is available in many forms, it has been concluded that weight or resistance training paired with an aerobic fitness program (and movement-based activity that makes the heart beat faster) time and time again lowers the blood sugar and increases a person's sensitivity to insulin, which is the end-game in managing diabetes. The body's ability to tolerate high levels of blood sugar can often be managed through fitness alone.
Bill Victor is owner of Victor Fitness System Professional Fitness Trainers, Flashpoint Athletic Speed & Agility Specialists, and Performance Nutrition Consultants. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and online at http://theflashpoint.org and http://VictorFitnessSystems.com.