Magazine article USA TODAY

Exercise Is Key to Controlling Disease

Magazine article USA TODAY

Exercise Is Key to Controlling Disease

Article excerpt

It should be common knowledge, but isn't. Millions of people fail to consider the most potent diabetes remedy of all--exercise--and you can even continue watching TV while you do it. "Patients with adult onset (type 2) diabetes who exercise regularly will be able significantly to reduce and sometimes eliminate entirely the medications they need to take to control their blood sugar," maintains Ami Laws, a diabetes expert and associate professor of medicine at Stanford (Calif.) University.

Physical activity promotes glucose "uptake" or use in muscle cells, and this helps stabilize blood sugar. "That's almost precisely what the medications do for people, except exercise offers many other health benefits and, in many cases, actually works more effectively than medicines on the diabetes itself. So, exercise is a two-way win."

Of course, starting an exercise program is easier said than done, "and many people with diabetes don't know how to start," concedes Laws. "So, the key is to start gradually. When patients come to see me, I tell them that, on the first day, they could do nothing more than put on their walking or athletic shoes to see how the shoes feel. …

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