Honor National Diabetes Month by Dedicating Yourself to a Healthy and Fit Lifestyle
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Almost 26 million Americans, both adults and children, battle this chronic, serious disease, which is a leading cause of kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, non-traumatic lower limb amputations and blindness.1
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), this leading disease nationwide is characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from the body’s inability to produce or use insulin. There are two major types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. Individuals’ bodies with Type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin. This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Type 2 diabetes is the most common with millions of American’s bodies either not producing enough insulin or their cells simply ignore the insulin. Insulin is responsible for the body being able to use glucose from the food you eat for energy and to fuel the cells in your body.2
The ADA suggests that a healthy lifestyle made up of a nutritious diet and regular exercise can contribute to preventing diabetes. In honor of National Diabetes Month this November, dedicate yourself to living a healthy and fit lifestyle by incorporating the following three guidelines into your daily life.
Eat Healthy to Fuel a Strong Body
Everyone has heard the saying, “You are what you eat,” but the truth of this simple saying is more accurate than most are willing to give credit. The food you put in your mouth fuels your internal systems to function appropriately, your brain to think clearly, and your cardiovascular and muscular systems to perform physical tasks appropriately. Food is such an important factor to your body’s livelihood that it’s important to focus your eating habits on a nutrient-rich, whole foods diet that is packed with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and whole grains.
Exercise Regularly to Reduce Risk of Disease
A healthy diet and regular exercise routine go hand-in-hand to help reduce your risk of diseases such as diabetes and live an overall healthy lifestyle. The ADA offers the following benefits to being active, as it relates to combating diabetes:2
• Improves Blood Glucose Management: Activity makes your body more sensitive to the insulin you make and it burns glucose (calories), both of which help to lower blood glucose levels.
• Lowers Blood Pressure: Activity helps your heart pump stronger and slower.
• Improves Blood Fats: Exercise provides heart healthy benefits such as raising good cholesterol (HDL), while lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.
• Promotes Weight Loss and Maintaining a Healthy Weight
• Lowers Risk of Common Diseases Such as Heart Attack, Stroke, Some Cancers and Bone Loss
• Increases Energy and Improves Quality of Sleep
• Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Depression
• Builds Stronger Bones and Muscles: Weight-bearing activities, such as walking, can make bones stronger. Strength-training activities, such as lifting light weights can make muscles strong.
There isn’t one magic number when it comes to determining a healthy body weight. Everyone’s ideal weight is unique to their specific body structure, muscle mass, water retention and overall health. To determine what your specific healthy weight range should be, consult your health care provider or a licensed nutritionist/dietitian. After you work with a professional to determine your healthy weight range, these providers can help you establish and adjust your weight loss or management goals to align with achieving overall health and fitness.
Before you begin any weight loss or exercise program, you should always seek the advice of an appropriate professional, which could range from your health care provider, licensed nutritionist, a certified personal trainer, etc., depending on the specifics of your situation.
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.
2American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org.