Being diagnosed with prediabetes is a wake-up call but it is not too late to reverse it. Dr Fadzil Hamzah, Senior Staff Registrar, Singapore Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre (SSMC) at Changi General Hospital (CGH), shares safe ways to start exercising.
Prediabetes – if nothing is done to reverse it, often leads to
Type 2 diabetes. This further puts you at increased risk of developing other serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.
“Being diagnosed with prediabetes does not mean that you will definitely develop type 2 diabetes. In fact, you can still prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes by
changing your eating habits and increasing your physical activity,” said Dr Fadzil Hamzah, Senior Staff Registrar from
Singapore Sports and Exercise Medicine Centre (SSMC) at
Changi General Hospital (CGH), a member of the
How regular exercise can help reverse prediabetes
The more physically active you are, the more glucose your body uses for energy. Exercising regularly therefore helps to lower and maintain your blood glucose level.
Also, when you exercise, your body does not need as much insulin to transport the glucose into your cells; your body therefore becomes less insulin-resistant and uses insulin more effectively. Lowering insulin resistance is desirable as having prediabetes means your body does not respond well to insulin.
Of course, when you exercise regularly, you also enjoy the other traditional benefits of exercise:
Keeps your heart healthy
Helps you sleep
Improves your mood
You don’t just feel better, but look better too
If I never/hardly exercise, how do I start exercising safely?
It does not matter where you are physically. It is also alright if you have never set foot in a gym or a fitness centre, as long as you start doing something now.
“If you have not been very active or are worried about your health, it is important to consult your doctor before starting an exercise programme. This is especially if you have other medical problems or if you are embarking on an activity that you are not accustomed to,” advised Dr Hamzah.
Start slowly and always ask for help if needed. Guidance from a clinically certified fitness professional e.g. an Exercise Is Medicine (EIM)-certified fitness professional can get you off to a good start and help you maintain a structured exercise program especially when you have a medical condition.
If you have never exercised, here are simple and safe ways to start:
Light walking is a great and safe way to incorporate physical activity into your daily life
Do your house chores
If you drive, park at the far end of the parking lot
Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
Play with your children or grandchildren
Walk with a friend, neighbour, partner or pet (making exercise a social experience provides extra motivation)
Or just walk by yourself while listening to music or an audio book, or snap photos with your phone while walking (having fun will boost your spirits and fitness)
Download a free step tracker app on your smart phone to help you keep track of the number of steps you make.
10,000 steps per day is a fantastic goal, but if it is difficult for you to hit initially, you can build up to that level gradually. On average, there are about 1,250-1,550 steps in 1km (kilometre).
Keep a daily log of your physical activities. This can be motivational and helps you stick to your program, especially during the beginning. Set daily goals and as you gradually meet more goals, you will start feeling like you are regaining control of your life.
When exercising, wear proper footwear. Comfort lets you enjoy your activities more, and it minimises foot irritations, painful blisters and sores.
Ready to increase the intensity and effectiveness of your exercise? Read the next page to find out how and start reversing prediabetes.
Plus, check out our other articles on prediabetes:
Prediabetes: Symptoms and Causes
Prediabetes: Tips to Reverse It
What is Prediabetes and What to Do When You're Diagnosed
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