You know that aerobics is beneficial for diabetic neuropathy, but what about cardio exercise to prevent this condition in the first place? Diabetic neuropathy is a painful condition of the lower extremities.
• So the question isn’t. “Is exercise good for DPN?”
• The question is: Can cardio workouts prevent the development of peripheral neuropathy in diabetics?
Researchers set out to find the answer, for both type 1 and type 2. Seventy-eight diabetics were in the study, and none had any sign of symptom of PN at the time of enrollment.
They were divided into two groups.
• One group did a supervised four hours/week brisk walking regimen on a treadmill; 50 to 85 percent heart rate reserve.
• The second group did no exercise.
• The study went for four years, because the goal was to investigate the effect of long-term exercise on preventing diabetes neuropathy.
• The full report is in Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications (Balducci et al, July-August 2006).
• In the non-exercising group, 17 percent developed motor PN, and 29.8 percent developed sensory PN.
• In the group who exercised, none developed motor PN, and only 6.45 percent developed sensory PN.
The paper’s conclusion states: “This study suggests, for the first time, that long-term aerobic exercise training can prevent the onset or modify the natural history of DPN.”
If You Have Diabetes and
Don’t Exercise, what’s Stopping You?
Housework doesn’t count. If it did, one could conclude that few diabetics had peripheral neuropathy – unless all people with diabetes never do housework?
DPN is common. It hurts and causes loss of sensation, which is how infected wounds in the feet can develop.
If the wounds aren’t treated in a timely manner, they can become severely infected, causing loss of part or much of the limb.
Don’t wait until you become an amputee before embarking on a regular walking program – and brisk walking, not strolling.
If you can comfortably hold your partner’s hand and have a conversation while walking, you’re not exercising effectively enough.
Pump your arms and walk briskly. If you use a treadmill, do not hold on, as this will derange natural gait mechanics and posture, and can result in repetitive stress injuries to the hips.
Holding onto a treadmill mimics using a walker.
If you think you’ll fall off without holding on, then get used to a slow speed, and then gradually increase it as your body adjusts.