Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for individuals with diabetes, who face double the risk of experiencing a heart attack. Despite advancements in managing other complications related to diabetes, reducing cardiovascular risk has proven to be more challenging.
However, adopting a regular exercise routine can significantly improve the situation. The European Society of Cardiology and other medical bodies recommend that individuals with diabetes incorporate physical activity into their lives, and this recommendation has been included in the latest treatment guidelines.
Dr. Hareld Kemps, a cardiologist from the Netherlands and lead author of the organization’s position paper, emphasizes the importance of physical fitness for patients with Type 2 diabetes and heart issues. He highlights that the risk of mortality associated with diabetes decreases as patients become fitter. Unfortunately, many patients do not engage in exercise programs, missing out on potential health benefits.
Even making small increases in physical activity can have a profound impact. Brief bouts of walking, interrupting prolonged sitting, can improve glucose control. Additionally, two hours of brisk walking per week can reduce the risk of further heart problems.
For those seeking to maximize the benefits of exercise, high-intensity interval training, which involves alternating between moderate and vigorous activity, has shown to be highly effective in boosting fitness and controlling blood sugar.
However, it’s essential to acknowledge that high-intensity training might not be safe for all patients, especially those with pre-existing health issues. Individuals should consult their doctors to develop a personalized fitness plan that suits their unique circumstances.
By prioritizing physical activity and adopting an exercise plan, individuals with diabetes can take proactive steps to improve their heart health and overall well-being.