World Diabetes Day, on November 14th, aims to raise awareness of diabetes, highlighting what it’s really like to live with diabetes, and ways to reduce the risk of developing the condition.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a life-long health condition where the amount of glucose in the blood is too high. This is because the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to help the body use glucose effectively. Without insulin, the glucose can’t be used as fuel, so it stays in the blood. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is more common in children and young people, whereas Type 2 is more common in people over 40 and those who are overweight. Although Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, it is possible to reduce the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes, by following a few simple tips;
Taking exercise and eating healthily can make a big difference. Encourage your clients to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This should be low in fat, salt and sugar. Make sure your clients are aware of the importance of eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Ask your clients to keep a food diary, and to be honest about what they are eating. This will allow you to identify where they can make changes.
Taking regular exercise is one of the best ways to avoid developing diabetes, and also one of the most effective ways to manage the condition if you have it. As a personal trainer, to help your client, design a training schedule that combines aerobic activity and strength work. Depending on your client’s current level of fitness, this could include fast walking, cycling or running. Any type of aerobic exercise will help. Find an exercise that your client enjoys, so they are more likely to stick to the plan.
As well as aerobic exercises, strength training can also help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Muscle strength is essential to build and maintain healthy bones, but also helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
Gym work is ideal. Select exercises that use all of the major muscle groups, and make sure your client knows the correct technique for each exercise. Again, the intensity of training depends on your client’s current fitness levels, but make sure they complete at least one set of 12 repetitions, working to overload. You could also develop a routine that your client could do at home, using their own body weight. For example, this could include push-ups and sit-ups. Encourage them to get active any way they can, whether it’s walking or gardening, anything can help.
For clients who don’t want to lift weights, yoga is a great alternative. The movements are gentle, and the focus is on relaxation and breathing. Your client will soon notice results in their strength, posture and general wellbeing.
Diabetes is a growing problem, so use World Diabetes Day as a way to highlight the importance of healthy eating and exercise. Together, they’re the best ways to reduce the risk of developing the condition.