SHREVEPORT, La. -- Exercise is a big part of the treatment regimen for diabetes patients.
“If you look at type two diabetes, the main pathogenesis of the disease and the main abuse of diabetes is insulin resistance," said Dr. Michelle Chico, an endocrinologist with Willis Knighton Health System. “So, basically, in patients with type two diabetes, they gain weight. And when they gain weight, they have abnormal blood sugars. “
So, the body makes more insulin, causing weight gain.
“And so it becomes a vicious cycle,” said Chico.
Chico said medications alone will not typically reverse the cycle.
“It really is difficult to do with just medications. We really encourage lifestyle change,” she said.
And it’s not just Type 2 diabetes.
“Because of the growing incidence of obesity that we see, we are seeing a lot of insulin resistance even in Type 1 diabetes patients,” Chico said.
While exercise is good for everyone, it is especially important for diabetes patients.
“It helps you cut down on your medications, it makes you more sensitive to insulin,” Chico explained. “Type 1 diabetes patients become more sensitive to insulin and we don’t have to keep increasing their doses.”
A combination of cardio and strength training works best.
“We definitely encourage resistance training, because it does help with losing visceral fat, which is the fat in the abdomen and the fat around your organs, because those are risks for heart disease and diabetes,” Chico said. “So, weight training combined with cardio helps a lot and is definitely encouraged.”
Chico suggests either 120 minutes per week of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of high intensity.
“Moderate would be walking or swimming. And we would consider something like jogging or running high intensity,” she said.
Along with exercise, making better food choices is a must.
“You can’t get on a treadmill and workout and have a really good, high intensity workout and then get off the treadmill and have five slices of pizza. That’s just not going to help,” Chico said with a smile.
It's all about balance and moderation, she said, adding, “When you develop healthy habits with your exercise routine, you also tend to make better food choices.”