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Clinical Pilates Benefits for Type 2 Diabetics
It’s a known fact that everyone benefits from regular exercise. This applies to all of us, whether or not we have some sort of health condition. In this article we will specifically discuss how exercise, particularly Clinical Pilates, can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
What is type 2 Diabetes:
It is a condition in which the body becomes progressively resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. Insulin controls the level of glucose in the blood. While the exact cause of type 2 diabetes is not known, it is associated with a number of lifestyle risk factors, such as increased age, being overweight and having hypertension (increased blood pressure). The good news is that most of these risk factors can be modified if we change our lifestyle.
One of the most effective lifestyle modifications, when it comes to type 2 diabetes, is making sure that we get enough exercise. The second one is making sure that we have a healthy diet. In this article we will explore the first aspect - exercise.
The main benefits of exercise for a person with type 2 diabetes are:
- helping insulin to work better
- weight management
- lowering blood pressure
- reducing stress.
Since excessive weight and hypertension are some of the main risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, it’s easy to see why exercise is such an effective management and treatment tool. A number of studies on exercise and type 2 diabetes have shown that both aerobic exercise and resistance exercise are required for optimal management.
Aerobic exercise refers to cardio exercise, such as, walking, jogging and swimming. Resistance exercise refers to strength training using specialised equipment such as weights, resistance bands and others.
Clinical Pilates is a highly effective type of resistance exercise.
The main benefits of Clinical Pilates are:
- All exercises are performed in a controlled environment under the strict supervision of health professionals such as physiotherapists and exercise physiologists.
- Exercises are performed on specialised equipment such as reformers and trapeze tables and that weights and resistance bands are incorporated into the exercises.
Diabetes has been shown to be an independent risk factor for reduced muscle strength, which is why strengthening exercises are so important. The reformers and trapeze tables which are used during Clinical Pilates allow varying degrees of resistance to be set, depending on the person’s physical status and other health conditions, particularly those associated with the musculoskeletal system (back, neck and joint issues). This ensures that exercises are performed safely with minimal risk of sustaining an injury while exercising. Using weights and resistance bands further helps to strengthen muscles, particularly for the upper body.
Have a thorough assessment prior to commencing exercise.
While exercise is highly effective for treating and managing type 2 diabetes, it’s important to ensure that the exercises are done safely and are appropriate to each individual. This is why it’s highly beneficial to undergo a thorough assessment prior to commencing exercises. Many physiotherapists and exercise physiologists perform a specialised diagnostic assessment on their patients before setting them up on a Clinical Pilates program. Such an assessment forms the basis for the Clinical Pilates program. Thus, the exercises will not only help to manage type 2 diabetes but will also address the person’s musculoskeletal issues and will ensue that the program is suitable to the needs and goals of each individual.