Fitness and Diabetes: The Down and Dirty Summarized


What does it really mean to have diabetes and workout? Last month Renov8 Fitness Coach, Jenn DeMartino, shared with us the different types of diabetes, the different affects workouts have on people with diabetes, as well as how nutrition plays a part in diabetes management. Here is what Jenn shared if you missed it.

"In short, the definition of diabetes is high blood sugar and there are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and 2. Type 1 diabetes is not procured by way of a bad diet or lack of exercise, but rather it's brought-on by an attack of immune cells on the pancreas. Whereas Type 2 diabetes is caused by either a tiring out of the pancreas or a reduction in sensitivity of the cells' ability to take the insulin that their pancreas produces. With both types of diabetes there is a very large number of treatments available depending on the body response to the treatment. Approximately 136 types of medications for Type 2 and 8 medications for Type 1. Each treatment affects the person's blood sugars in different ways by different mechanisms and none of them or perfect.

Also, different types of exercises have different affects on blood sugar levels. There's no cookie-cutter approach. High intensity can either raise or lower blood sugar depending on where the sugar level starts and how much medication and carbohydrates are on board. Low impact exercise usually doesn't affect sugar in the short run, but again it depends on the person. The same goes for heavy lifting, although sometimes people report having high blood sugar. With HIIT (high intensity interval training), there usually is no prediction on what will happen with blood sugar levels. A person with diabetes needs to practice and learn the patterns of their own body on their good days, bad days, high carbohydrate days, low carbohydrate days, sad days, happy days, time of year, time of month, etc.

Just like the different types of medication and exercise, various types of food also effect sugar levels differently. In general, high glycerin carbohydrates spike blood sugar whereas low glycemic carbohydrates do not. Protein in high doses can spike blood sugar and low doses do not. Fat has no direct immediate change on blood sugar levels, but it does delay the absorption of any type of carbohydrate.

In general, for people with diabetes it's not just a simple answer. There can be extremely healthy fit people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes who have no way of getting rid of their disease and there are those that can. Exercise and nutrition may or may not also have an affect on blood sugar levels with or without immediate complications. For example, Olympian Gary Hall, Jr. (won 10 U.S. medals in the 500m swim) had his blood sugar spike to the 300s as a result of his swims, which is not what you would expect.

So bottom line is that exercise and nutrition are both important for a person with diabetes just as much as it is for a person without diabetes. It's just not as easy as 1, 2, 3."

I hope you've learned something new from Jenn's synopsis of her seminar about diabetes and how it relates to fitness and nutrition. No mater who we are and what's going on with us and our bodies, fitness and nutrition is key!

Yours In Fitness,

Heather Binns

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