By: Daniel Trecroci
There aren’t enough hours in the day to exercise,” a patient once told William Polonsky, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego.
“Is there anything that could motivate you to start an exercise program?” retorted Polonsky, who shared the anecdote last November at a diabetes educators conference at Mills-Peninsula Health Services in San Mateo, California.
“It’s not likely,” replied the patient.
“Anything at all?” Polonsky persisted.
“Well,” the patient responded, “I suppose if I were registered for a 10-kilometer run, I would start exercising to train for it.”
Polonsky whipped out his laptop, found a 10K run in the not-too-distant future in the woman’s hometown and, with the patient’s authorization, registered her for the run.
Is it possible that there is no better drug for type 2 diabetes than exercise? Think about it. It’s totally unencumbered by cost, and no health plan says you can’t do it because it’s not covered on the formulary.
Of course, regular exercise is of benefit to everybody, including people with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Health, through the years, has presented myriad studies and articles touting the virtues of exercise for people with diabetes. We—and our readers—have also discussed the myriad reasons why we can never seem to find the time to exercise or the discipline to maintain an exercise regimen.
Whatever the case, the studies keep pouring in. In the January 15, 2003, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Yale University researchers reported that regular exercise, such as brisk walking, results in a reduction of the dangerous deep belly fat that is associated with insulin resistance, high blood pressure, blood lipid disorders and heart disease.
In our June 2000 issue, we reported that type 2 men who are sedentary are twice as likely to die earlier compared to type 2 men who exercise (“Exercise Leads to Longevity”). In December 1999, we reported that one hour a day of walking cuts the risk of type 2 diabetes in half (“Walking Your Way To Health”).