Everyone knows that exercise is medicine, but they don’t really understand to what degree.
Nicholas Caracandas fitness enthusiast and business owner of Diabetic Athletic who has been living with Type1 Diabetes for more than three decades spoke to IOL Lifestyle about the importance of exercising for your disease.
As far as diabetes is concerned, exercise should always go with proper nutrition to optimally manage your condition, said Caracandas.
We all got different levels of skills and we’re not all great at managing diabetes.
And speaking to the management of the disease “for example, being financially stable makes managing the condition that much easier because diabetes is an expensive disease and if you don’t have money, it makes it much more difficult to manage”, said Caracandas in conversation.
“Let’s face it, illnesses have a terrible impact on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
“I believe that exercise as a management technique strengthens resistance to mental health, clarity, emotional well-being, and physical health.”
“For those of us living with T1D exercise is the fountain of youth.”
According to his interpretation, exercise acts as a second insulin, meaning that if your pancreas or beta cells are unable to produce a hormone that is in charge of regulating the amount of glucose in your bloodstream and delivering it to the appropriate muscles, exercise causes that hormone to have a greater impact on your body.
As type 1 diabetics, we lost the ability to use or create insulin, our bodies lost the ability to process carbohydrates as they once did.
The inability of the body to produce or utilise the hormone in charge of metabolising carbs is known as insulin resistance.
That doesn’t necessarily imply that we can’t eat carbohydrates; rather, it just means that the body can’t produce the hormone or utilise it the same way it usually does.
And as such exercise creates insulin sensitivity, said the fitness enthusiast.
“Essentially, exercise acts as an antagonist.
“It promotes the use of insulin and encourages people to eat carbohydrates because they provide glucose, which is converted to energy for the body to be used to support bodily functions and physical activity.”
Why exercising for your condition matters
“Diabetics with more lean tissue are leading a life where diabetes is more on autopilot than those with low percentages of lean tissue.
“You need to ask yourself: do you want general wellness, athletic performance, muscle or fat loss because each of these goals necessitates a different nutritional and fitness approach.”
He explains that if you are a diabetic and you want to improve your diabetic state by adding lean muscle so that you can eat more carbohydrates and give less insulin with a greater effect.
“It’s crucial to ask for help if you wish to use exercise to control your condition because we aren’t always the best people to handle these situations; instead, look for resources and seek help.
“Just as having a car doesn’t make you a mechanic, having diabetes doesn’t mean that you automatically understand how to manage your disease.”
Therefore, if we have high body fat percentages as opposed to lean muscle, generally speaking, our strength-to-body weight ratio will be out of balance, which is just a polite way of expressing that your body is overweight.
In a nutshell, the heavier we are, the more difficult it is to own that frame, he adds.
In other words, diabetic complications may develop as the blood sugar level remains uncontrolled for a longer period.
Diabetes compromises your quality of life literally.
It increases the risk of developing secondary illnesses like heart problems, eye damage (retinopathy), and depression, said the T1D advocate.
“Exercise helps you lose that extra weight so that you can start to become less resistant to the medication that prevents you from dying and gives you freedom of choice for something as simple as eating out or eating things that you enjoy moderately so rather than eating less because we want to lose weight.”
Meal frequency as a diabetic is vital, if we go too long without food our glucose levels will decrease.
“I eat balanced meals throughout the day, breakfast, snack, lunch snack, dinner, and snack because the best balance comes from the plate, with smaller corrections throughout the day.
“My approach to nutrition is balanced," Caracandas told IOL Lifestyle.
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