Exercise is Great, But Not for Losing Weight to Lower Blood Sugar
If you have prediabetes or diabetes, or are concerned about developing it, it’s likely that you need to lose weight. Even if you are thin, high blood sugar means you have filled your fat cells and should shed at least a few pounds.
So what is the best way to lose weight? Many medical professionals and health gurus claim that exercise is vital to losing weight. You need to be realistic about whether you can truly exercise enough to lose weight. My view is that it is possible to lose weight through exercise. However, I believe that it is usually not probable that exercise helps most adults lose weight, for many reasons.
First, most people simply do not exercise enough to empty their fat cells. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. If you consume 2000 calories per day, exercising burns very few calories relative to how many calories you need to spend to lose any weight.
Take a woman weighing 140 pounds, who walks 3.5 miles in one hour. She will burn only 270 calories. Let’s say she bikes 10 to 12 miles in one hour; well, that consumes only 390 calories. Even if she runs for 30 minutes at 7.5 miles per hour, she uses only 430 calories. Roughly similar numbers would apply to men weighing 180 pounds.
So as you can see, you’d need to exercise for hours and hours every day to burn enough fat beyond the calories you consume. That means it is not very practical to lose weight by exercise.
Adults begin losing some muscle mass as they age. This makes it harder to expend the same amount of calories. Older adults also find it pretty hard to keep up the level of activity needed to maintain a negative calorie intake because they don’t have the same stamina as when they were younger.
Finally, exercise itself usually makes people feel hungrier, not less. After exercising, they often think, “I deserve a treat.” Or “It’s OK if I eat a little extra today.
I am not saying don’t exercise. Physical activity conditions the lungs, muscles and heart. A conditioned lung has reserve capacity available when you need it or when you become sick. Conditioned muscles work longer before exercise makes you feel tired. Exercise improves blood circulation; helps skin tone and elasticity; and improves mental skills such as reasoning. Finally, exercise elevates your body temperature, which improves your immune system and makes it easier for the transfer of glucose from the blood into active muscle cells.
So, all in all, I encourage you to exercise regularly, but if you are an adult with diabetes, don’t count on it as your primary method of losing weight. Rather, the best way to avoid diabetes and high blood sugar is to learn to reduce your food intake, especially grain-based carbohydrates.
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