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Diabetics live longer with physical exercise

Diabetics live longer with physical exercise
Exercise reduces your chances of developing type-2 diabetes, but even if you already have diabetes exercise is good for you. Definitely if you exercise for longer than the daily half hour that is advised. An American epidemiological study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has confirmed this.

At the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the biostatistician Paul Williams examined data gathered in the National Walkers' and Runners' Health Studies. In that project researchers have been following several hundred thousand runners and walkers since the twentieth century - and among them are 2160 men and women who take medication for diabetes.

Williams knew how often the participants walked and ran, and divided them into three groups on the basis of the amount of calories they burned. The first group did the equivalent of 1.07 MET-hours per day. 1 MET-hour is the equivalent of about 1 km running or 1.5 km walking at a brisk pace.

The second group did between 1.07 and 1.8 MET-hours a day. If you manage the 1.8 MET-hours per day, you do exactly the amount of exercise that health experts advise. That means walking briskly for a good half hour every day.

The third group that Williams separated out were those who did more than the 1.8 MET-hours per day, and thus got more exercise than advised.

When Williams then looked at which diabetics had died, he saw that their mortality risk was lower, the higher their MET-hour figure was. In the figure below the mortality risk of the diabetics category with the least exercise is defined as 1.

Diabetics live longer with physical exercise

Diabetics are more likely to die, and this is mainly because the disease damages the heart and blood vessels. Williams discovered that walking and running reduced the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. In addition, exercise also reduced the chance of dying from an infectious disease or a kidney disease.

Diabetics live longer with physical exercise

"Most people at risk for diabetes are not sufficiently active as defined by the recommendations for the general population, little less the recommendations for diabetic patients", Williams concludes.

"These results identify important additional benefits for diabetic patients to exceed the current general physical activity recommendations for adults."

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2014 May;46(5):9339.

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