The World Health Day was recently marked by the WHO on 7 April, by calling for action on diabetes. An estimated 422 million people live around the globe with diabetes, and the figure is believed to more than double in the coming 20 years. What is more worrisome is the speed at which the disease is catching up with even children of all ages. Kids run the risk of being vulnerable to both, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, owing to excess body weight, the lack of exercise, environmental factors, and in certain cases, genetic predisposition.
The disease is known to bring along several serious ailments and complications like heart attack, stroke, kidney disfunctionality, and lower limb amputation in severe cases.
The need of the hour is to create enormous awareness among people and educate them on adopting a lifestyle that aids the prevention of the onset of diabetes. The old adage, ’prevention is better than cure’ fits in just right when discussing health-related complications that can possibly foster substantial eventualities.
While people with diabetes have to work hard to follow a disciplined routine, those who are unaffected do not have much to rejoice about either as vulnerability lives just around the corner, thanks to sedentary lifestyles.
In this post, we discuss a few measures and lifestyle options suggested by health experts to prevent, control, and curb diabetes.
WHO, in the Global Report on Diabetes Recommended Physical Activity Duration for All Age Groups:
|Age Group||Physical Activity Duration|
|5 – 17 years||At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day|
|18 – 64 years||At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week|
|65 years & above||At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week along with balance strengthening activity suiting their ability|
1. Choose The Right Type Of Exercises
Whether you are aiming to prevent, control, or cure diabetes, exercise is a natural and sustainable means of achieving results.
Regular exercise is key to the prevention of obesity, which is one of the causes of diabetes the world over. Globally in 2014, 1 in 3 adults and more than 1 in 10 adults were recorded to be overweight and obese respectively.
Being overweight and obese are the strongest factors that give rise to the disease and set the ground for it to thrive.
Listed below are a few expert-recommended exercises that aid in the prevention and control of diabetes:
Exercises like walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, cycling, etc., also known as cardiovascular workouts, help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. These exercises preserve the health of the heart and maintain the blood glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels as desired for healthy living.
A minimum of 30 minutes a day must be spent brisk walking or performing one of the several aforementioned exercises. For beginners, 5 to 10 minutes of walking daily can provide a good start. One can attempt to increase the duration slowly each day without getting complacent.
To make the exercise regime interesting, alternate forms of workouts can be performed. Take a brisk walk or perform dance aerobics regularly. Alternatively, swim, cycle, run, or take to water aerobics to burn excess fat.
Simple alterations to a sedentary lifestyle like walking to nearby stores, using the stairs and ditching the elevators, and doing household chores can make a huge difference in the long run to make you active and energetic.
As parents and teachers, we owe it to children to teach them the importance of playing outdoor games as this is a great way to help kids keep their weight in check while having fun on the field. Children should be made to spend time in social and healthy environments that encourage healthy living through physical activities.
Building strong muscles and bones through strength training by lifting weights burns more calories and increases your core strength.
Light weights can be used to exercise at home or at fitness centers to keep your fitness levels high.
The glucose from the blood stream is utilized during strength training, and through this process, the excess sugar can be cleared out from the body. In addition, the training prepares the body to respond better to insulin, aids in weight loss, and lowers the risk of heart disease.
It is essential that fitness routines are not compromised on days of special occasions, unless the situation demands so. Exercise should be performed religiously to prevent not just diabetes, but several other diseases that find home in unconditioned bodies.
2. Practice Yoga for Diabetes
Regular practice of Yoga helps to prevent diabetes and works in favor of lowering its rate of progression. The range of asanas (poses) and pranayama (breathing techniques) practices help to effectively shed weight and improve breathing, digestive, and cardiovascular functions of the body.
Yoga helps with the regeneration of pancreatic cells, which in turn, increases the utilization and metabolism of glucose. The level of sugar in the blood is reduced and maintained at optimal measures through regular dedication to it.
Effective Asanas and Pranayama
- Kapalbhatti (Skull Shining Breathing Technique) – This breathing exercise stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, and thus, helps to control the disease. The practice also boosts the basic metabolism rate as a result of which, the blood sugar levels are stabilized. Beginners can start with 5 to 10 minutes per day and gradually increase the duration as suitable.
- Suryanamaskar (Sun Salutation) – For effective weight loss and body regulation, this practice, which a sequence of multiple asanas is highly beneficial. It helps to fight obesity and should be consistently practiced for prevention and control of the disease.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) – 3 to 7 turns of the exercise a day helps to control blood sugar levels and reduce weight when practiced regularly, in addition to increasing blood circulation.
Click here for more yoga poses that help fight diabetes.
3. Always Maintain Healthy Diet
Often heard, but more often ignored, healthy food is essential for the maintenance of good physical and mental health. Processed, packaged, and sweetened foods and drinks are high in calories and provide low nutritional value.
Weight can be watched to stay healthy and prevent diseases by making smart food choices that include protein, fiber, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Consume fresh and raw fruits as packaged and tinned fruits contain excess amounts of sugar.
Adults can consult their doctors on healthy food choices and follow the diet to control the progression of the disease. Increased sweet intake on certain days can be balanced with extra minutes of physical exercise to restrict the extra calories from aggravating the disease. A balanced diet minus processed foods and excess sugar, along with regular physical activity can help to regulate body weight and control sugar levels in the body.
Cultivate healthy eating habits in children from an early age to help them sustain healthy practices as childhood nutrition has an effect on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on. Excess consumption of free sugars in the form of sweetened beverages, energy and sports drinks, candies, junk food, and confectioneries should be discouraged.
Information on the prevention and control of diabetes is readily available online and with health experts and doctors for people to use and take precautions [NOT SURE I UNDERSTAND THIS SENTENCE]. The challenge, however, is to follow a healthy lifestyle without compromising on the quality and nutrition of the food consumed. Whether or not you’re affected by this disease, physical activity is highly recommended by health gurus to stay fit and to keep the possibility of acquiring diseases at bay. A healthy body and mind can take you places while an unhealthy body can inhibit your aspirations.