Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes, who face twice the risk of heart attack. Even though the risk of other complications from diabetes has declined, cardiovascular risk has proved to be more difficult to lower.
But getting fit can definitely help. The European Society of Cardiology is among those recommending that people with diabetes adopt an exercise plan.
In fact, they’ve included this recommendation in their new treatment guidelines.
“Diabetes doubles the risk of mortality but the fitter patients become, the more that risk declines. Unfortunately, the majority of patients do not engage in exercise programs,” said Netherlands cardiologist Dr. Hareld Kemps, lead author of the organization’s position paper. “I can’t stress enough how much even small increases in activity can benefit patients with Type 2 diabetes and heart problems. Interrupting sitting with brief bouts of walking improves glucose control, while two hours of brisk walking per week reduces the risk of further heart problems,” he says.
High-intensity interval training — alternating moderate and vigorous activity — is most effective at boosting fitness and controlling blood sugar.
Unfortunately, this may not be safe for some patients. If you have a pre-existing health issue, ask your doctor for a personalized fitness plan.
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