Researchers Show How Exercise Improves Blood Sugars and Well-being

Exercise Improves Diabetes and Cardiovascular Control, but Maintenance is Necessary. It is well known that good diet and exercise habits reduce the risk of heart disease and improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. Knowing that diet and exercise programs are extremely difficult to follow, researcher Fannie Smith enrolled overweight type 2 patients in an intensive, 16-week program called “Fit N’ Healthy.”

Smith wanted to find out how the subjects’ health would improve during the course of the program. She also wanted to see if the program’s benefits continued at three and six-month intervals after it ended.

The chart on page 35 shows that all measurements improved during the program. At the six month follow-up, however, only triglyceride and cholesterol levels remained better than they were at the beginning of the study. All other numbers were approaching pre-program levels.

Workshops Improve Exercise Routines in People With Diabetes. Intensive, one-day, motivational and educational workshops appear to help blood sugar control, exercise routines and attitude in people with diabetes.

Nicole Champagne and Steven Edelman studied the effects of the one-day, patient-oriented, educational and motivational program called Taking Control of Your Diabetes. A total of 250 type 1s were asked to fill out questionnaires prior to the 1997 San Diego program, and at six week and nine month intervals following the program.

Nine months after the program, Champagne and Edelman discovered that participants’ exercise increased from 2.87 to 3.46 days per week.

Type 2s Stick With Water Exercise Programs. Researchers at the Maine Medical Center say that water exercise programs are good for people with type 2 diabetes, and that drop-out rates are low.

Mary K. Frohnauer and colleagues, studied 21 men and women enrolled in a low-intensity, aquatic exercise program for one year. Forty-five minute workouts in a heated pool were supervised three times a week by a certified aquatic therapist.

After one-year, subjects lost weight, but there was little improvement in blood glucose levels. Despite no reduction in blood glucose levels, the researchers suggest other psychological and physical benefits of the aquatics program may have kept participants from dropping out.

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The preceding abstracts on exercise and diabetes were presented at the ADA Scientific Sessions in San Diego, June 19-22. 1999.

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