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Exercise Plays a Crucial Role in Preventing and Treating Diabetes


The American Diabetes Association says 30 million Americans have diabetes, the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It can affect every decision, including what to eat, and requires steady attention and management. A person’s weight is a major factor. Exercise and proper eating are important in preventing and managing diabetes.


The ADA says we can take steps to prevent type 2, the most common form. “Stay at a healthy weight, eat well and be active. With these steps, you can stay healthier longer and lower your risk of diabetes.”


The ADA defines type 2 diabetes as “characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body's inability to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults but can appear in young people.”

Among Americans age 65 and older, 25.2 percent or 12 million people have diabetes, the ADA says. (Click here to see the National Diabetes Statistics Report.)

If you think you might be at risk, talk to your doctor. If you have been diagnosed, be sure to know about proper eating and exercising and take care of yourself every day.


How exercise helps


Physical activity:

· Helps lower blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides

· Lowers risk for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke

· Relieves stress

· Strengthens the heart, muscles and bones

· Improves blood circulation and tones muscles

· Improves flexibility


And no, you’re not too old to start.


“Even if you've never exercised before, you can find ways to add physical activity to your day,” the ADA says. “Even if your activities aren't strenuous, you'll still get health benefits.”


Regular physical activity is important for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes and those at risk for it, the ADA says. “Get active and stay active by doing things you enjoy, from gardening to playing tennis to walking with friends.”


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