I see many patients with prediabetes metabolic syndrome that develop problems moving around comfortably and confidently. If this occurs in a patient that is overweight, the prognosis becomes much less favorable, and can set off a downward spiral of even poorer health with eventual full-blown diabetes.
Movement- along with proper diet and lifestyle – is important for all segments of the population, but it is especially necessary for those with prediabetes or borderline diabetes metabolic syndrome.
Studies have shown that losing weight and improving fitness may delay some of the movement and mobility difficulties found in older overweight type 2 diabetics. Diabetics are more likely to have mobility problems when compared to other people their age, and the prevalence of foot problems in this patient population creates extra challenges.
Making lifestyle changes and dedicating time for some prediabetes exercise will at least help you to remain mobile. It may also improve your ability to move around with more confidence and agility (maybe even a little swagger?).
This may sound like common sense, but as Nutrientology readers know, science verifies what sounds like common sense using its own method. Researchers tested a program of “intensive lifestyle intervention that produces weight loss and improves fitness” in which obese or overweight diabetic volunteers were encouraged to lose weight through structured diet education, diet plans and exercise at least three hours per week, primarily by walking.
The control group was another group of volunteers that attended group meetings three times per year for nutrition and physical activity information as well as support for following through on the information that was discussed at the meetings.
The study analyzed 5,016 patients, ages 45 to 74. They reported on how much they moved around (their mobility) on health surveys given over four years and took fitness tests at different points during the study period. (Can people really objectively self-report?)
The lifestyle-intervention group that pursued a more aggressive exercise and weight loss approach had a 48 % less risk of loss of mobility, as compared to the support group. Both weight loss and improved fitness (as assessed by treadmill testing) were found to be significant factors in this reduced risk.
It should be noted that the lifestyle intervention group did have a slightly higher frequency of musculoskeletal symptoms after one year. Exercise movement is usually beneficial for arthritic joints, but it needs to be done in a smart way. Start slowly. Listen to your body, and if a particular area is giving you problems, don’t push it. Work around it. For example, if you have a pain in the ball of your foot when walking, use a bicycle for aerobic fitness, or do more resistance leg exercises that do not involve placing a stress on the ball of the foot such as leg extensions, leg curls, and shallow knee bend squats with the weight on the heels.
It is the people that are able to adjust to the aging process, and keep moving that don’t get stuck in a rut beginning the downward spiral of immobility, illness, and an eventual dependency on others. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Don’t allow your prediabetes to progress to full diabetes!