Daily Archives: September 24, 2015

10 Exercise Tips for People With Diabetes (Type 2)

Exercise is safe and highly recommended for most people with type 2 diabetes, including those with complications. Along with diet and medication, exercise will help you lower blood sugar and lose weight.
However, the prospect of diving into a workout routine may be intimidating. If you’re like many newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics, you may not have exercised in years.
If that’s the case, don’t worry: It’s fine to start slow and work up. These tips will help you ease back into exercise and find a workout plan that works for you.

1. Make a list of fun activities

You have lots of options, and you don’t have to go to a gym. What sounds good? Think about something you’ve always wanted to try or something you enjoyed in the past. Sports, dancing, yoga, walking, and swimming are a few ideas. Anything that raises your heart rate counts.

2. Check your blood sugar

Ask your doctor if you should check it before exercise. If you plan to work out for more than an hour, check your blood sugar levels regularly during your workout, so you’ll know if you need a snack. Check your blood sugar after every workout, so that you can adjust if needed.

3. Carry carbs

Always keep a small carbohydrate snack, like fruit or a fruit drink, on hand in case your blood sugar gets low while exercising.

4. Ease into it

If you’re not active now, start with 10 minutes of exercise at a time. Gradually work up to 30 minutes a day.

5. Strength train at least twice a week

It can improve blood sugar control. You can lift weights or work with resistance bands. Or you can do moves like push-ups, lunges, and squats, which use your own body weight.

6. Make it a habit

Exercise, eat, and take your medicines at the same time each day to prevent low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia.

7. Go public

Work out with someone who knows you have diabetes and knows what to do if your blood sugar gets too low. It’s more fun, too and working out with friends can be an important motivator.

8. Be good to your feet

Wear athletic shoes that are in good shape and are the right type for your activity. For instance, don’t jog in tennis shoes, because your foot needs a different type of support when you run. Check and clean your feet daily. Let your doctor know if you notice any new foot problems.

9. Hydrate

Drink water before, during, and after exercise.

10. Stop if something suddenly hurts

If your muscles are mildly sore, that’s normal. Sudden pain isn’t. You’re not likely to get injured unless you do too much, too soon so don’t over exercise.

10 Health Benefits You’ll Get
Remember how much exercise does for you, including:

  • Helps your body use insulin, which controls your blood sugar
  • Burns extra body fat
  • Strengthens muscles and bones
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Cuts LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
  • Raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • Improves blood flow
  • Makes heart disease and stroke less likely
  • Boosts energy and mood
  • Tames stress

How Does Exercise Affect Blood Sugar?

When you exercise, your body needs extra energy from blood sugar, also called glucose. When you do something quickly, like a sprint to catch the bus, your muscles and liver release glucose for fuel.

The big payoff comes when you do moderate exercise for a longer time, like a hike. Your muscles take up much more glucose when you do that. This helps lower your blood sugar levels.

If you’re doing intense exercise, your blood sugar levels may rise, temporarily, after you stop.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: “Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General.”
American Diabetes Association.
Castaneda, C. Diabetes Care, December 2002.
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: “What I need to know about Physical Activity and Diabetes.”

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11 Tips for Preventing Heart Disease

Scientists now know a great deal about what you can do to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Follow these essential steps to protect your heart. Although taking these measures doesn’t guarantee that you won’t ever have a heart attack, it should definitely improve your odds.

1. Don’t Smoke

Smoking is the worst thing you can do to your heart (and to nearly all your organs and those of people around you). No level of smoking is safe, and the risk of heart attack rises with every cigarette smoked daily. As soon as you quit you reduce your risk of heart attack, though it takes several years to undo most of the cardiovascular damage. Avoid secondhand smoke, too

2. Monitor Your Cholesterol

Your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol should be less than 130 mg/dL, though optimal is less than 100—and less than 70 if you are at very high risk for a heart attack or stroke, according to American Heart Association guidelines. HDL (“good”) cholesterol should be at least 50 for women and 40 for men. Diet and exercise can help. Total blood cholesterol should be less than 200, though if you exceed that because your HDL is high, while your LDL is under 130, this is less of a concern. Triglycerides (blood fats) should be less than 150 mg/dL, optimally less than 100 mg/dL.

3. Watch for Hypertension

Know your blood pressure and keep it under control. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Blood pressure measurement is the cheapest, simplest and perhaps most important of all medical tests. Even small changes in your average blood pressure, up or down, can affect your cardiovascular risk. Diet and exercise can help you keep prehypertension from developing into full-blown hypertension, or at least delay it by many years.

4. Control Blood Sugar

People with diabetes are at greater risk for heart attack and stroke than people without it. Even having slightly higher than normal blood sugar levels—a condition known as prediabetes—increases coronary risk. If you have prediabetes or diabetes, be particularly careful about controlling your blood sugar through diet, weight loss, exercise and medication if necessary.

5. Eat For Your Heart

Adopt a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. The high intake of fiber from plants, especially soluble fiber, is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, eat oily fish two or three times a week for their omega-3 fats, and choose small portions of lean meats. Avoid trans fats (from partially hydrogenated oils). However, do eat moderate amounts of healthy, unsaturated fats, such as nuts and vegetable oils, especially in place of saturated fats (notably animal fats). Limit sugary foods and refined carbohydrates, such as white pasta.

6. Cut Back on Sodium

The recommended daily limit is just 1,500 milligrams (the amount in about two-thirds of a teaspoon of salt) for people over 50, all blacks and those with hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease—that’s most adults. Others should aim for less than 2,300 milligrams to reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. That’s a tall order, and can be accomplished only by cutting way back on processed foods, restaurant meals and fast foods.

7. Stay Active

Exercise protects against coronary artery disease by helping the heart work more efficiently, reducing blood pressure, raising HDL cholesterol, decreasing the tendency of blood to form clots, moderating stress, helping the body use insulin and helping people maintain a healthy weight. Sedentary people who begin a regular program of exercise can reduce their risk of a heart attack. Walk briskly or do other aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes most days; more is even better.

8. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being very overweight increases your risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as hypertension and diabetes, which further increase the risk. If your weight is creeping up, cut calories and develop good exercise habits. Research suggests that being merely overweight (as opposed to obese) does not raise the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, particularly if you are over age 70. But do your best to keep your weight in a healthy range. Losing weight and then sustaining weight loss may require more than the recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days.

9. Go Easy on Alcohol

Moderate drinking—no more than one drink a day for a woman, two for a man—may reduce the risk of heart attack. (One drink is defined as 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.) Alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer and some other cancers and poses other serious health risks, so weigh these along with the potential benefits. You can reduce your risk of a heart attack without drinking alcohol, of course.

10. Ease Depression and Stress

Do what you can to treat depression and reduce stress. Being chronically depressed may increase your risk for a heart attack. Do not think that it is normal to feel low or miserable most of the time. Seek professional help. Depression can be successfully treated with psychotherapy and/or medication. Lifestyle changes, such as getting regular exercise, can also help. If you have a demanding job or life that gives you little sense of control and causes you chronic unhappiness, it’s important to find ways to reduce your levels of stress

11. Know Your Family History

A history of premature cardiovascular disease in your immediate family (for example, a heart attack in your father or brother before age 55, or in your mother or sister before age 65) raises your risk substantially. You can’t change that, but it should make you pay special attention to your other risk factors and encourage you to take more aggressive steps to control them

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3 Eating Habits That Cause Bloating, Indigestion and Acid Reflux

The food coma is something we all experience now and again, but if you’re experiencing it every time you go out to a restaurant or every weekend, then something’s got to change. It’s not normal to feel sleepy, sluggish and bloated after every meal.
But what about when it’s not? What if you’re eating healthy, not overeating and yet you still feel sluggish and bloated afterwards? That’s where digestion comes in. Unfortunately most of us aren’t even aware that the eating habits we’ve developed as a society are causing us to feel this way.
Here are the top 3 unhealthy eating habits experts recommend avoiding in your next meal:

1. Eating lots of starch and protein together
Steak and mashed potato, Burger and fries, Eggs Benedict; All the glorious combinations that make us want to pass out on the couch after. Eating large amounts of starch (e.g. bread, pasta, rice, potatoes) and protein (e.g. fish, chicken, beef, eggs) at the same time can cause indigestion and acid reflux.
This is because protein has a much slower rate of digestion, and starches digest much faster into simple sugars. Technically speaking, starches should be saying “hasta la vista” to the stomach pretty quickly and entering the next stage of digestion in the small intestine. But because they’re all mushed up with the protein in the stomach, they have to hang around and wait for hours until the protein finishes digesting too.
And when starches hang around too long, they ferment release gas which causes us to belch every so frequently.

Eat your starch first, follow it up with protein afterwards. Don’t sweat it if you’re having a small portion of starch alongside your protein, the key is not to overdo the rice and potatoes. P.S. you can eat your veggies with starch and protein, either combo works well!

2. Having ice-cold water with your meal
When it comes to temperature of drinking water at a meal, opt for room temperature instead of cold. Ice-cold water constricts blood vessels, so it hinders the body’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.
Ice-cold water will also solidify any fats that are being eaten making them difficult to digest as well. Plus, your body’s energy is going to get diverted from trying to digest food to trying to regulate your body’s temperature. So much unnecessary exhaustion.

Think Japanese. Order some hot water (with lemon, optional) or green tea before the start of your meal and slowly sip on it to prime your gut for optimal digestion. Always tell the server “no ice” and “room temperature”.
Keep in mind that these tips are for optimal digestion. If you suffer from weak digestion, these are far more applicable to you than someone who rarely suffers from feeling bloated or sluggish after a meal. These tips are also more crucial when you have a big brunch or celebratory meal coming up basically, when you know a food coma is just around the corner.

3. Drinking lots of water with your meal
Feeling confused already? Water is wonderful. And it’s great to have with your meal in small sips, for the purpose of helping the food along the digestive tract. But drowning your meals with multiple glasses of water is just going to give you indigestion and make you feel bloated afterwards.
When food enters your stomach, a substance called hydrochloric acid (HCL) is secreted from the stomach lining to help begin the process of digestion. HCL is super acidic —& after all, it needs to be in order to break big chunks of food into tiny, absorbable nutrients. So if you start chugging back water with your meal, you’re going to dilute the hydrochloric acid and thereby dampen its efforts.
If it helps to paint a picture, imagine a pool of water in your stomach with bits of food floating around, the acid just kind of fizzing out trying to do its job. Feeling gross and bloated already? Good, don’t do it!

Drink lots of water either an hour before or after your meals. Only sip on a glass of water throughout your meal.

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