Heart Association Makes It Plain: Get Off Your Duff and Exercise!

The American Heart Association (AHA) has added weight training to the list of exercises it recommends for people with type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart and blood vessel diseases account for nearly 70 percent of deaths among type 2s.

The association says that type 2s should get at least 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or bicycle riding, or at least 1.5 hours per week of vigorous-intensity exercise, such as aerobic exercises. Patients can also combine the two approaches.

Resistance training, using weights, is also on the association’s list of recommended exercises. The AHA encourages moderate- to high-intensity workouts during which patients perform two sets of eight repetitions with weights that they cannot lift more than eight times, separated by 10-minute rests between sets.

To maximize the benefits of exercise, patients should exercise at least three non-consecutive days per week, such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

The association says that because exercise is one of the primary tools for managing diabetes, patients should consult with their healthcare providers to set up an exercise regimen. In effect, patients should look for an “exercise prescription.”

For many people with type 2, sticking to an exercise schedule pays off in weight loss, lower blood glucose levels, increased energy and insulin receptivity, and a reduced need for medication.

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