Exercise does place healthy but mild stress on a Type 2 diabetic’s body, so it is recommended people with diabetes take a little extra care when exercising. It is also important you discuss your activity plans with your doctor who may want to review your diabetes management before you start.
Exercise capacity is defined as the greatest amount of physical activity an individual can sustain. The simplest, least expensive way to measure exercise capacity is to note what a diabetic can do in ordinary life, such as the number of minutes he or she can walk briskly or the number of stairs the Type 2 diabetic can climb before having to stop and rest.
A more precise way to measure exercise capacity is with the use of a treadmill. Predicted capacity is calculated with the use of a formula that takes into account… body mass index, age, and gender. The amount of treadmill walking the Type 2 diabetic can sustain is then compared with the predicted value to get some idea of his or her fitness.
Heart attacks, blood vessel disease, and strokes are all serious complications of Type 2 diabetes. Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, USA, set out to determine whether exercise capacity could be used to predict the probability of heart and blood vessel disease.
Their study, reported in the Archives of Medicine in February 2014, included…
- 404 participants with diabetes, and
- 490 healthy controls,
whose exercise capacity was measured by way of a standardized treadmill test. It was found both diabetics and nondiabetics with measurements below 85 percent of predicted, were at a higher risk for…
- heart attacks,
- blocked arteries carrying blood to the heart muscle, and
than individuals with 85 per cent capacity or higher.
Forty-eight percent of diabetics whose measurement was below…
- 85 percent had heart attacks within 53 months,
- 32 percent of those with an exercise capacity of at least 85 percent of predicted.
Those with poorer exercise capacity suffered blockages in arteries carrying blood to heart muscles in…
- 54 percent of cases, versus
- 32 percent of those with better measurements of their capacity.
Among diabetics with an exercise measurement below 85 percent…
- 22 percent had strokes, compared with
- 6 percent of those with better measurements
Exercise capacity is something that develops gradually with physical activity. Simple activities such as a walk around the block every day help to build up capacity much better than trying to do too much at one time. A sensible plan for steady, tolerable exercise can be worked out with the help of your doctor. If heart disease is suspected, a treadmill test and EKG might be in order. Once an exercise plan is developed, then following it faithfully could be a great way to help a person with Type diabetes prevent having a heart attack, blocked blood vessels, or stroke.