John Temple, 58, has a family history of diabetes, so it was not surprising when he starting experiencing pre-diabetic symptoms, namely, increased blood sugar levels, extreme thirst, and frequent urination. However, instead of letting his condition control him, he took control of it by committing himself to eating a healthier diet and following a daily exercise program.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 21 million people have full on diabetes while as many as 54 million are thought to have pre-diabetes.
"Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, which results in insulin resistance," the ADA said.
Insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, is essential for converting sugar, starches, and other food into energy from which the body draws upon for daily life.
While the cause of all types of diabetes continues to be a mystery, the ADA claims that genetics, obesity and lack of exercise all seem to play major roles and need to be addressed when preventing and controlling the disease.
And that is exactly why Temple contacted Ted Johnson, a personal trainer and health and fitness consultant. Together they came up with an effective exercise plan specifically designed to boost his energy, lower his blood sugar levels and shed excess weight.
While some medications can delay the development of diabetes, studies have found that regular exercise and a healthy diet work better and have lasting positive results without the side effects.
"Exercise causes a reduction in insulin resistance and improves insulin sensitivity," Johnson said.
So, how did he guide Temple to a healthier lifestyle?
At first, they went for a daily power walk in Central Park, followed by exercises that Temple could perform in his New York City apartment which included stretching, push-ups, squats, abdominal exercises and weight training.
Templecontinued to follow his personalized program, and as his strength and stamina increased, he started jogging and doing more advanced exercises at home.
"At the same time," Johnson said, "Mr. Temple made positive changes to his diet and eating habits and over the course of a few months, the symptoms he was experiencing went away."
Johnson recommended consistently exercising five to six days a week to see profound differences.
"Just like a person would be diligent about taking their medication, the exercise should be considered like a prescription and a session should not be missed.
Here is an example of an exercise program for the first month:
First Two Weeks:
— Stretching, power walking and/or rebounding
— 5 days a week power walking for 30 minutes
— Walk tall at a brisk pace just slightly leaning forward. Keep arms bent at 90 degrees swinging with the rhythm of the steps. Control your breathing in the rhythm of the steps.
— Rebounding for 20 to 30 minutes
— Rebounding is the gentle bouncing exercise done on a rebounder or mini-trampoline. The up and down bouncing movement and light jogging on the rebounder helps move the lymphatic system and increase circulation. The exercises can be broken up into two 10 to 15 minute sessions.
— Exercises include gentle bouncing, jumping jacks and light jogging
Third and Fourth Weeks:
— Power walking and/or rebounding for 40 minutes
— 6 days a week strength training with light weights
— 3 days a week squats — 10 reps, 3 sets
— Start by standing up with feet shoulder width apart. Lower the body, keeping your chin up and moving the hips back as if sitting in a chair. Maintain weight over heels and mid-foot. Lower to approximately 90 degrees of knee bend
— Shoulder Press with lightweights — 15 reps, 3 sets
— Hands start slightly above shoulder height with elbows bent. Bend knees just slightly and position feet shoulder width apart. Press the weights over the head until elbows are extended but not locked. Slowly return to the starting position.
— Push-ups — work up to 10 reps, 3 sets
— Hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Place toes or knees onto floor depending on your level. Keep the neck, back, hips and legs all in a line - plank position. Lower your body slowly towards the floor, inhale as you bend your arms. Straighten your arms and exhale as you raise your body
Johnson said that diabetes is a serious condition, but it is preventable and even reversible.
"Exercising on a regular basis and eating a healthy whole food diet can help tremendously in recovering a person's insulin sensitivity."
Note: Diabetics should always check their blood sugar before and after exercise