Reduce Your Risk of Developing Diabetes – Get Moving!
Type II diabetes, the health plague that overtakes so many overweight people in later life, may be kept at bay by building muscles, recent studies have suggested. If you are overweight or obese, one of the best things you can do is get moving and exercise hard.
Medical science has long been aware that exercise is beneficial for diabetics, people whose bodies have developed resistance to the hormone insulin and cannot therefore absorb glucose. Exercise helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and regular exercise is associated with improved health generally, including lowered blood glucose, lowered blood pressure, and improved circulation.
Many diabetics need to lose weight, and the condition may improve and symptoms lessen when they do. Exercise will not only help burn calories and thus reduce body fat, but may itself help fight diabetes.
Doctors have observed that certain body shapes may have stronger associations with health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, with the “apple” shape, a large tummy, rather than big bottom, are more closely tied to these risks. There is the so-called “pear shape”, in which fat is stored on the hips, bottom and upper legs, which seems to have less associations with cardiac and diabetic conditions.
In 2009, scientists at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA undertook a study of the relative waist and hip measurements of diabetics and published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. In further studies, they examined statistics from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III undertaken between 1988 and 1994 and recording data on 17,000 people aged over 20. They also examined data from the survey relating to over 13,000 adults with a higher body mass index (BMI).
The researchers identified three conditions that seemed to increase the risk of developing diabetes: an “apple” body shape – with the waist measurement being large in relation to the hips, a larger waist circumference, and lower muscle mass.
Body shape and fat deposition patterns are determined by heredity, but anyone can reduce their risk of developing Type II diabetes by improving their weight and muscle tone, the studies suggest. Losing weight will reduce the fat deposited on the stomach area, and this will reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes. Exercising will not only increase fitness – beneficial in numerous ways – but will also build muscle and increase the proportion of muscle mass to fat in the body. Muscle tissue also burns more calories than other tissues, which in itself will aid the person to lose weight.
“This is wonderful news for overweight and obese people in danger of developing type II diabetes and struggling to lose weight,” said Dr. Preethi Srikanthan, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Division of Endocrinology at UCLA. She pointed out that trying to lose weight through dieting is something many people find very difficult. However, getting moving, exercising, and building fitness is something anyone can do and it will be beneficial and contribute to metabolic improvements. Even very obese people can do this, starting with simple changes. Take a daily walk, increase activity and your weight and health will improve.