Besides unhealthy eating, a high body mass index and exposure to organic pollutants, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the main factors that lead to type 2 diabetes.
A joint position statement developed in 2010 by The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association has shown that engaging in a moderate exercise program results in a reduction of diabetes markers (hemoglobin A1c) in eight weeks.
A single session of aerobic exercise can increase insulin action and glucose tolerance for a period of time between 24 and 72 hours. A similar reaction can be associated to strength training as well. This leads to lower fasting blood sugar levels 24 hrs after exercise, with greater reductions depending on the volume and intensity of the exercise.
Why does exercise help manage blood sugar levels?
When eating, people consume carbohydrates. These are broken down by the digestive system into simple sugars, one of which is glucose. Glucose passes from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. The hormone insulin prevents the buildup of glucose in the blood, transporting it from the bloodstream into the cells, where it can be used as a fuel for cellular processes.
The main characteristic of diabetes is the body’s inability to control blood sugar, which leads to chronically elevated sugar levels. This can cause blood vessel damage and affect the vital organs supplied by these vessels.
When doing aerobics exercise, insulin action is improved, while new muscle mass gained during strength training increases the sugar uptake from the blood and its usage as fuel.