More and more research is showing that exercise plays a significant role in diabetes management. But can exercise cure or reverse diabetes? Here’s a look at what the experts say.
What does ‘curing’ or ‘reversing diabetes even mean?
If you have type 2 diabetes and experience a long-term improvement in your insulin sensitivity, it is referred to as curing or reversing your condition. This means you are able to get your A1C level below 6% without medication—and keep it there.
After one year or more of both normal A1C and fasting blood sugar levels without medication, you are considered to be in complete remission. But you’ll still need to check in regularly with your healthcare provider and sustain the changes that reversed your diabetes in the first place.
Committing to a regular exercise regime can make a big difference in helping reverse or cure diabetes and keep it in remission. A recent study out of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., showed that 40% of type 2 diabetes patients were able to reverse their diabetes by exercising, cutting calories and keeping their glucose in check.
Can I reverse diabetes with exercise alone?
Regular exercise is important because it can improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin: when your muscles are active, they use up sugar as a source of energy, which prevents the sugar from building up in your blood. In fact, physical exercise can be as powerful as some medications, with fewer side effects.
Other health benefits of getting your body moving regularly are stronger bones, improved blood pressure, increased energy and potential weight loss. Here are some good types of exercise to consider when you have diabetes.
But exercise alone is not enough to reverse or cure diabetes. Those who have experienced the most success in turning back the clock on their disease have done so through a combination of exercise, diet and regular blood sugar monitoring.
Why is diet and exercise the best combination?
Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is a key part of keeping your diabetes in remission. One of the best ways to lose weight is through diet and exercise.
When it comes to diet, experts suggest watching portion sizes and adding plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, high-quality proteins and high-fibre foods to your meal plan. Find more on how diet can reverse diabetes.
The longer you can stay in a reversed state of diabetes, the better your chances of delaying or preventing further complications of the disease. By combining a good diet with regular exercise, you give your body the best chance to do just that.
Curious about other potential ways to reverse or cure diabetes? Find some more tips here.