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As 2010 winds to a close, new guidelines issued jointly by the American Diabetes Association and American College of Sports Medicine reported that regular intense exercise can prevent, improve, and delay type 2 diabetes and improve lipids, blood pressure, and more. This might sound like a no-brainer, however in the outdated guidelines from 2000, it did not stress the importance of exercise and blood sugar modulation. Now they are very specific and strict and I am thrilled!
First, they recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise spread out over at least three days. This does include walking, as long as it’s brisk and it is for a sustained period of time. I would not include leisurely walks, shopping at a relaxed pace, or parking a few spots out and walking and extra 50 feet into the store.
Second, the panel of nine experts included resistance training at least two, if not three days per week. Resistance training burns glucose (blood sugar) much faster than aerobic exercise or normal activities of daily living. If you are unsure of where to start, really consider hiring a professional to help you until you feel more secure and comfortable.
Third, buy a pedometer and walk at least 10,000 steps per day.
Naturally, diet is very important when it comes to type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a disease of sugar – either too much or the inability to utilize it appropriately. This means you need to eliminate all sugar and simple carbohydrates from your diet. This news may come at an appropriate time as the holidays are almost over and I’m sure many have been thoroughly enjoying their sweets this season.
Stick to high protein foods such as unsalted nuts and seeds, eggs, low-fat dairy, plain yogurt (you add the flavor), and hormone-free meats. Fill up on vegetables at every meal and include them in snacks such as carrots and hummus, red peppers and bean dip, or celery and no-sugar-added peanut butter. If you need a sugary snack, choose a low-sugar fruit such as berries, apples, and pears. Keep in mind that bananas are very high in sugar and may not be the best choice for you.