By Marian Podoleanu, Health & Fitness Educator

Four million Jordanians, 25 years old and older, are overweight or obese and two million Jordanians are diabetic, according to 2016 figures. For those who are overweight or obese, developing diabetes is more of a question of when, not if. With proper nutrition and regular exercise, though, you can significantly decrease your risk of developing diabetes.

The environment diabetes thrives in

We tend to make compromises to save a minute or two here and there, which results in poor habits that can sabotage our health like:

 
Skipping meals, especially breakfast

 
Little hydration

 
Replacing nutritious meals with on-the-go, full-fat, greasy sandwiches and sugary drinks and treats

 
Spending more than 10 hours daily sitting

If this sounds familiar, SOUND THE ALARM! Draw the line and change course immediately. This is a serious disease that brings a host of other ailments; cardiovascular, renal and retinal diseases are some common examples.

Time to act

Studies prove that proper nutrition and regular exercise are twice as effective in preventing and managing diabetes compared to medication. Regular physical activity improves blood glucose control while positively affecting lipids, blood pressure, cardiovascular events, mortality and quality of life.

The fasting blood glucose test can be done at any lab. If the results are within normal range, act preventively and adopt an active lifestyle with a goal to reduce your Body Mass Index (BMI) to below 25.

Exercise guidelines if you have type 2 diabetes

Cardiovascular exercise: Strive to burn a minimum of 1,000 calories through physical activity each week. Depending on your current fitness levels, this may require three to seven days per week of low-to-moderate intensity exercise for 20 to 60 minutes at a time (walking and other non-weight bearing activities such as water aerobics and cycling are good choices). Daily exercise is highly recommended.

Resistance training: Perform resistance-training activities at least two days per week, targeting the major muscle groups. Complete one to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions for each exercise at a low-to-moderate resistance.

Flexibility: Perform stretching exercises at least two to three days per week, stretching major muscle groups to the point of tension (not pain) for 15 to 30 seconds. Complete two to four repetitions of each stretch. Flexibility sessions are best to follow resistance training sessions.

Keep in mind:

1. Consult your physician before starting any exercise programme to determine the potential risks associated with exercise

2. These are goals that you should work up to gradually over time

3. The ultimate goal is to expend a minimum of 1,000 calories per week via physical activity for health benefits or 2,000 calories per week for weight loss

What precautions should you take if you have diabetes?

 
If you have type 2 diabetes, monitor your glucose before and after exercise to understand how you respond to certain types of activities

 
Exercise with a partner and wear an ID bracelet indicating your diabetic condition

 
Check with your physician prior to beginning a physical activity programme and return regularly to assess the diabetic complications. If complications of the eyes, kidney or heart are present, your physician should provide you with clear boundaries regarding the intensity of any physical activity

 
Consult a certified nutritionist to guide and help you make the necessary lifestyle adjustments 

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