• Home
  • Resources
  • Blog
  • Stress Part 2: Benefits of Exercise and Diabetes. Your Step by Step Guide to Better Managing Stress

Stress Part 2: Benefits of Exercise and Diabetes. Your Step by Step Guide to Better Managing Stress

Posted by on in Self Help
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 1038

In the last post, we looked at stress and what effect it has on our body. Huge.

Stress is a part of most people’s lives. Now that we are aware of the effect of stress on our body, we are turning towards methods that we can employ to better manage this stress, but first an analogy.

If you think of your stress capacity as a glass (some people have taller glasses than others = better ability to cope with their stress), into which stress from different sources (review the stress scorecard from the last blog) is poured. As subsequent amounts are tipped into the glass the level rises. When the glass overflows, that is when our body succumbs to something; a migraine, low back pain, mental exhaustion, heart attack or acne flare-up for example.

Being aware of your current stress level (self-awareness and using the stress scorecard) and activating your management strategies, keeps the glass from overflowing. In the next few emails, we are going to look at these management mechanisms.

The first method of managing stress that we are examining is exercise. Not because it is the most important but because regular exercise has a benefit not only on managing stress but also many other current health epidemics. Specifically diabetes, bone density (osteoporosis)/heart health and relaxation. This first email will look at diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus types 1 & 2

Diabetes mellitus type 1 (juvenile diabetes). This form is an autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis, where our body’s immune system does not recognize the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, fights them and destroys them. As a result, the pancreas does not produce insulin and there is a rise in glucose levels in blood and urine. Only a small amount of people (5-10% of all diabetes cases) have this type of diabetes and it is detected very early in life.

Diabetes mellitus type 2 is the form in the news and is still increasing in numbers; in parallel with obesity. It used to be termed ‘late onset diabetes’ because if occurred much later in life - not so now! In the world, there are estimated 422million people with this disease. That means, 1 in 11 people in the world have this disease.

Type 2 is a metabolic disease, meaning that the regulation and processing of glucose is relatively ineffective. There are other types of sugars, but for simplicity, we will say glucose = sugar. For a great insight into sugar,  check out the video called  'The Sugar Story'. Here is a trailer. Type 2 occurs because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the insulin produced is not effective.

Normally when we eat, there is a matching rise in insulin production, which induces an uptake in the glucose being released from the foods we eat. The higher the level of carbohydrates and sugars consumed, the more insulin required to enable the absorbing of the glucose from the blood into our cells.

Type 2 develops over many years and prior to being diagnosed with type 2, the body has slowly been developing a resistance to the effect of insulin production, with the result being less and less capacity to manage glucose blood levels. Type 2 diabetes has a 10-year shorter life expectancy. The presenting signs are the same as type 1; excessive thirst, hunger, urination, dry mouth, unexplained weight loss, fatigue and slow healing cuts.

Wondering if you could be at risk of diabetes?

This is a good question to ask, as it is estimated for every person who is known to have diabetes there is one non-diagnosed case. It is called a silent epidemic.

One measure that you can check is your waist circumference. Grab a tape measure and wrap it around your waist, just above your hip bones. Information is power and if you measure something, you can change it. Check it out.

Waist Circumference

                             Healthy                 Obese

Men                      < 94cm                    > 102cm

Women                 < 80cm                    > 88cm

If you have some of the above-mentioned symptoms and your waist circumference is bigger than healthy, you may wish to discuss this with your General Practitioner, as they will be able to arrange the appropriate blood test to diagnose diabetes

There are some very positive things you can do to prevent, delay or manage diabetes type. They fall under the banners of diet and exercise. We are going to examine the exercise component.

Why exercise?

A physiotherapist who is a diabetes educator described it in the following way;

“There is a protein called glut 4 (glucose transporter) which is found in fat and muscle tissues. Glut 4 is released from these tissues when we exercise and regulated by insulin.

This protein enables the movement of glucose from the blood into cells that require glucose for energy. Glut 4 achieves this by opening channels into these cells, improving glucose absorption across the cells surface. Under situations of low insulin production or insulin resistance (i.e. diabetes), greater production of glut 4 means a greater efficiency of the available insulin.”

Take home message. Glut 4 is a friend in need if you have diabetes and the way you encourage this friend to stay around is through exercise. In fact, glut 4 keeps the gates open for 24 to 48 hours after you stop exercising. Now that is what I call a good friend!

There are some medications prescribed to try to open these cell gates, but they are not as effective or long lasting as exercise.

What type & how much exercise? How a physiotherapist helps you plan your exercise

Success with any long-term project comes down to good planning and accountability. If you would like to learn about how to help self-manage your diabetes type 2 and do not know where to start with exercise, we can help you design an individual exercise program = planning. If you have an existing injury or another limiting factor, then you all the more require a tailored exercise program. Having your exercise program reviewed, adapted and monitored = accountability.

Research shows that light weights training or resistance training and low-intensity aerobic exercise are effective in promoting glut 4 production. In fact, combing them together has been shown to be more beneficial. Jogging on a treadmill or running are not optimal for glut 4 production.

Want to take your health in your own hands? The good news is you can help make a difference in the management of your diabetes type 2.

At Esperance Physiotherapy, we can assist you by designing your exercise program, based on the latest research findings. One that you can enjoy and be beneficial. We can show you how to do specific lightweight and resistance training. We will explain the different types of exercises, how each may help and what suits you.

Haven’t exercised for a long time or afraid to get started? There is always somewhere to start with exercise, even if you have not exercised for years. That is why we look at you as an individual and work within your current capabilities. Each person is different and so requires an individual program. The beauty is you only need to decide you want to be responsible for your health. Once you have made that decision, we are very happy to help you with all the technical stuff.

Failed before with exercise? It is not so much that you failed, more that you drifted away from exercise for one reason or another. We all do it! The key is getting on track and staying on track. Exercise is a routine, then a habit and finally a lifestyle. This is where accountability is vital. We listen to our clients, as they have different lifestyles and commitments in their lives and design exercise programs to suit. Single mum, busy professional, committed parent - we can help.

If you would like to discuss your diabetes and exercise with a physiotherapist please call Esperance Physiotherapy on 90715005 and make an appointment with Doug or Melissa Cary.

Next blog we will be looking at a couple of other benefits from exercising on osteoporosis and heart health.

Until then.


- Doug