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OMH Rehab can make you an ‘exercise snack’ to keep blood sugar low

Written by Jennifer Mackenzie

About half of American adults have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. So look around... you’re far from alone in this.

But there’s good news. Even short bursts of exercise can make a significant difference in preventing or managing diabetes – and Onslow Memorial Hospital (OMH) has 9 dedicated and highly trained physical therapists ready to help you get healthier and enjoy life!

Why is exercise important? Your muscles need energy to work. To feed them, your body burns sugar as an energy source, which lowers the glucose (blood sugar) levels in your blood. Regular exercise also helps your body use insulin more efficiently, which also lowers blood sugar levels – and keeping blood sugar in check is crucial if you have prediabetes or diabetes. Low blood sugar also dramatically reduces your risk of heart disease.

The bottom line is... being sedentary (sitting for too many hours) is bad for you.

“Exercise is so important in managing your diabetes,” says Mike Kamp, OMH Rehabilitation Director. “Thirty minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week is recommended by the American Diabetes Association.” 

But if you have a desk job, or regularly drive long hours, what are you supposed to do? The answer is: have three snacks a day. “Exercise snacks, that is!” Kamp says.

Research shows that daily ‘exercise snacks’ – short bursts (10-12 minutes) of moderate or high intensity exercise just before breakfast, lunch and dinner have a significant impact on blood sugar levels. And what’s more important, this positive impact lasts up to 24 hours. [Read the study here]

But it’s not ‘one snack fits all.’ The type of exercise you do, and the intensity level, depends on your overall health and fitness. That’s why you need a team of experts. OMH physical therapists can partner with you to create a program that’s the perfect fit.

“As your fitness level increases, your goals will adapt accordingly,” Kamp says. “Our bodies tend to adjust to exercise routines, and we actually don’t want that! We want to keep the body guessing, so to speak, with innovative and fun exercises that result in optimal results.”

If you are managing advanced diabetes, you may be dealing with problems in blood vessels, cramping/pain when walking, sores on the legs/feet, or tingling and numbness in the feet.

OMH physical therapists can help restore your quality of life by:

  • Performing special tests to check the sensation in your feet
  • Helping decrease cramping and pain during walking
  • Evaluating and caring for skin ulcers and sores • Improving your walking ability by adapting shoes or orthotics
  • Showing you how to protect your feet if they have lost sensation
  • Recommending proper footwear or assistive devices

If you’re ready to take control of your blood sugar and fight back against diabetes, improve your fitness level and overall health – and if you want to have fun doing it – call the OMH Rehab Department today at (910) 577-2372.