Exercise Can Increase Your Quality of Life

May 25th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

If an A1c of less than 7.0 is the goal for people living with diabetes, it is understandable that a higher A1c may be necessary from time to time.  One of those times is adolescence, when self-management is new and when hormones and major physical changes occur, throwing everything out of whack.  I discuss a study of teens below that I think would have identical results in adults.

A worldwide study of more than 2,200 type one teens looked at the relationships between hours spent on schoolwork, hours spent watching television, hours spent doing physical activity, and hours spent on a computer not related to schoolwork in relation to the teens’ A1c levels.  The purpose of the study was to determine differences between diabetes centers, but the relationships they found between A1c and activity are interesting and informative. 

The study concluded that, not surprisingly, a better quality of life coincided with a better metabolic control (here, measured by the A1c) for teens.  (I’d say for adults as well!)  This mirrors the DCCT results from a number of years ago that conclusively set our management path ahead in order to minimize complications from diabetes.

So how do we help teens to obtain a better quality of life when we all must always keep our diabetes in the forefront of our brains?

The study showed that the more hours the teens spent on schoolwork, the lower their A1c.  They concluded that was a direct result from the studying teen being more conscientious than other teens living with diabetes.  So, it’s a good thing for our diabetes if we are conscientious in other aspects of our lives in addition to our diabetes care.

They didn’t find any associations between the hours a teen spent watching television and A1c, but they did show that the more hours a teen spent in front of the computer for entertainment, the higher the teen’s A1c.  So, it’s a bad thing for our diabetes if we sit around all day and veg out.

But of particular note in my life and one that mirrors the goals I have for Diabetes Outside, the study observed a positive relationship between physical activity and psychological health.  While no relationship was determined between exercise and the teens’ A1c levels, the fact that the teens felt less worry, had a greater perception of their own health, a greater sense of well-being, and an overall better quality of life when they exercised is impressive.

 In the end, we are all looking for a balance in our lives between living a good and happy life and living it as long as possible with diabetes.  It would be relatively easy to succumb to the numbers game and weigh and measure our food each meal, use a calculator whenever we checked our blood glucose levels, ate healthy 100% of the time, and on and on.  But would that increase our quality of life

Maybe, but not for me.  I like to spend my time living, not counting.

Yet the simple truth is, exercise can and will increase the quality and likely the duration of all of our lives.  We were not born to sit; we were born to walk, run, crawl, and move.  If you’ve been fortunate enough to consider yourself an athlete, you know that the quality of your life with exercise is much higher than the quality of your life without it.

So let’s get going!!

If you or your family needs some help, let me know.  That’s what I’m here for.

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