Dear Dr. Mirkin: How does lack of exercise cause diabetes and heart attacks?
Answer: Reducing your physical activity by 50 percent for just three days, without changing your diet, doubles the rise in blood sugar levels after meals .
This shows that reducing exercise…
- interferes with your ability to control blood sugar levels,
- plays a key role in the development of type-2 diabetes and
- markedly increases risk for heart attacks and strokes.
However a single bout of moderate exercise lowers blood-sugar rise after meals.
Mechanism: A high rise in blood sugar causes sugar to stick to the surface membranes of cells. Once there, sugar cannot detach itself. It is converted by a series of chemical reactions from glucose to fructose and eventually to sorbitol that destroys the cell to damage every cell in your body. That’s why diabetics suffer from loss of function of every organ in their bodies including nerves, brains, arteries, hearts, lungs, bones, joints, kidneys and everything else.
Resting muscles cannot remove sugar from your bloodstream without insulin. However when a muscle starts to contract, it suddenly can remove sugar from the bloodstream without needing insulin.
It is absolutely incredible how contracting a muscle suddenly lowers blood sugar levels. This effect is maximum when the muscle is contracting, has a greater effect in lowering blood sugar levels with intense exercise, and maintains near-maximum efficiency for up to an hour after a person finishes exercising. Then the benefit of exercise gradually decreases until it disappears completely in about 17 hours.
My Recommendation: Everyone capable of exercising without damaging his or her health should exercise every day for at a least an hour.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, June 2011
A practicing physician for more than 40 years and a radio talk show host for 25, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is one of a very few doctors board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology.
Dr. Mirkin's latest book is The Healthy Heart Miracle, published by HarperCollins. His daily short features on fitness have been heard on CBS Radio News stations since the 1970's.
He has written 16 books including The Sportsmedicine Book, the best-selling book on the subject that has been translated into many languages. Dr. Mirkin did his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and over the years he has served as a Teaching Fellow at Johns Hopkins Medical School, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, and Associate Clinical Professor in Pediatrics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Read more at www.drmirkin.com.
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