Preventing, combating and managing diabetes is never a goal too difficult to achieve as long as we keep in mind to exercise regularly and maintain a low salt, sugar and oil diet.
Though diabetes is known as one of the most prevalent lifestyle diseases in the modern world, the knowledge and awareness about this disease is limited to many people. There is a greater need to raise the awareness about the risks and benefits of exercises to patients with diabetes to help fight against this worldwide epidemic.
In 2014, diabetes was known to be the fourth and eighth most common condition of polyclinic attendances and hospitalisation respectively in Singapore. In the same year, an estimated number of 440, 000 Singapore residents who were 18 years and above had diabetes, with the number expected to rise to 1,000,000 in 2050 (Health Hub, 2014).
In the 2017 National Rally, PM Lee Hsien Loong stated that one in nine Singaporeans has diabetes, while three in 10 over the age of 60 have diabetes. Explaining how challenging diabetes is due to its invisibility in the early stage, he encouraged citizens to exercise more, go for regular medical check-ups and eat healthier meals (CNA, 2017).
What is Diabetes?
According to the Singapore Health Hub (2019), diabetes which can be classified under Type 1 and Type 2, is a condition whereby the blood sugar level is higher than normal. Usually, Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Children, young adults and older people are known to be more prone to Type 1 Diabetes. On the other hand, Type 2 Diabetes occurs to adults who are overweight or adults with a family history of diabetes. When insulin produced by the pancreas has not been used effectively by the body, insulin resistance occurs, which often leads to Type 2 Diabetes. Most of the time, obesity and a high-calorie diet as well as a lack of exercise are the main causes of an insulin resistance.
Benefits of Exercises for Diabetic Patients
As stated by the Harvard Medical School, all forms of exercise – aerobic, resistance, or doing both (combined training) are equally good at lowering HbA1c values in people with diabetes as resistance training and aerobic exercise both help in lowering insulin resistance (Publishing.H, 2019).
With an accumulation of at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week or preferably every day, it improves the utilisation of insulin by the body and helps to converts the insulin into energy in body cells. With a reduction in insulin requirements, the risk of heart diseases is reduced as well (Health Hub, 2019).
Fitness First provides a myriad of low to moderate intensity classes suitable for beginners to kick start their exercise routines. Low intensity classes such as Gentle Flow Yoga, BodyBalance and Zumba would be recommended for someone who just got started in their fitness journey. Moderate to high intensity classes such as 30 minutes Pro Cycling and FGT HIIT are suitable for time-poor working adults. These exercises help to improve your cardiovascular health, burn more calories and build strength too!
Diet for Diabetic Patients
With efforts to encourage diabetic patients to have a moderately portioned and well-balanced meal plan, the Singapore Health Hub introduced the “Pocket Guide to DIABETES” whereby patients are encouraged to consume ½ plate of vegetables, ¼ plate of meat and other protein as well as ¼ plate of wholegrain in a meal (Health Hub, 2019).
In addition, diabetic patients are encouraged to choose water over sugary and alcoholic drinks as well as fruit juice which are high in the sugar level. Recognising the rise in concerns about the health threat posed by diabetes, Fitness First, as the fitness leader has replaced all cold beverage dispenser with fresh infused water flavoured with sliced fruits such as oranges, lemons and cucumbers which are good sources of electrolytes; encouraging our members to reduce intake of sugary drinks.
As the saying goes “A healthy outside starts from the inside”. Preventing, combating and managing diabetes is never a goal too difficult to achieve as long as we keep in mind to exercise regularly and maintain a low salt, sugar and oil diet. Apart from preventing diabetes, let’s not forget to reach out and lend a helping hand to those with diabetes too as every support is crucial!
Channel News Asia. (2017). National Day Rally: 1 in 9 Singaporeans has diabetes; problem ‘very serious’, says PM Lee. [online] Available at: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/topics/nd2017/national-day-rally-1-in-9-singaporeans-has-diabetes-problem-very-9140176
Harvard Publishing. (2019). The importance of exercise when you have diabetes - Harvard Health. [online] Harvard Health. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-exercise-when-you-have-diabetes
Health Hub (2014). Diabetes in Singapore. [online] www.healthhub.sg. Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/626/diabetes
Health Hub (2019). Diabetes: Diet and Lifestyle. [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/886/diabetes-diet-and-lifestyle
Health Hub. (2019). Your Guide To Health Eating For Managing Diabetes. [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/838/healthy-eating-for-managing-diabetes
Health Hub. (2019). Diabetes (Pocket Guide). [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/a-z/diseases-and-conditions/676/pocket-guide-to-diabetes