One simple way to beat type 2 diabetes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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If you have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, or if your doctor says you are at risk from metabolic syndrome, there's a simple way to beat the disease.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of symptom experienced by a high number of adults in the U.S. If you have three of the 5 following health conditions, it means you may be at risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. Check to see if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes or if you have metabolic syndrome, then learn what studies say about how you can easily improve your health.

  • Fasting blood sugar above 100
  • Blood pressure higher than 130/85 mm Hg
  • Triglycerides level above 150 mg/dL
  • HDL-C
  • Waist circumference above 40 in men or great than 35 in women

If your doctor is treating you for high triglycerides, high blood sugar or hypertension with medications, you still have metabolic syndrome. Cutting your risk factors with drug interventions is desirable, at least until you get things under control.

The good news is you can reverse metabolic syndrome by starting a simple walking program without changing your diet.

We all know exercise is good for lowering blood pressure and reducing heart risks. But walking can reduce the cluster of symptoms listed above that can lead to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes.

Walking can lower blood sugar and for some, reverse complications of the disease. Others can even stop taking their medications.

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In 2006, researchers analyzed data from the STRRIDE (National Institutes of Health-funded Studies of a Targeted Risk Reduction Intervention through Defined Exercise trial that compared two groups of study participants. One group performed high intensity exercise and the other group walked at moderate intensity.

Even participants continued to eat the same diet throughout benefited from the walking program for reducing their health risks.

Researchers explained the findings about why walking can prevent or reverse metabolic syndrome. "Rigorous exercise recruits more fast-twitch muscle fibers and utilizes glucose to a much greater extent than low-intensity exercise. Low-intensity exercise, on the other hand, tends to recruit slow-twitch fibers and uses free fatty acids as a substrate for energy. This.. is more beneficial for preventing or reversing the metabolic syndrome."

If you have been inactive, on medications for blood pressure, cholesterol or even diabetes, it's important to understand how important exercise can be to turn things around.

Jennifer Robbins, an exercise physiologist at Duke, who presented the results of the study June 2, 2006, at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Denver said, "The good news is that a small amount of physical activity can make a big difference in reducing the risks for developing such conditions as heart disease, stroke or diabetes." She adds, "Our findings demonstrate that while the cost of choosing a sedentary lifestyle can be high, switching to an active way of life can be beneficial at any time."

Even if you find it impossible to lose weight, walking can help improve the health of your heart, Robbins said. Improving your health status may be easier than you think.

Robbins said it only takes a moderate amount of exercise to counteract the detrimental effects of inactivity. In the trial, it was participants who had been the most sedentary and who exercised moderately who gained the most benefits. If you're looking for an instant way to improve your health starting today, consider a walking program either at home, at the mall or on a treadmill at the gym. Studies show walking can reverse metabolic syndrome. You can beat type 2 diabetes by walking. It's a simple intervention anyone can accomplish. Walking ten-minutes 3 times a day can provide the same benefits as one 30-minute walking session.

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