Managing diabetes and heart health: What to include in your exercise plan

January 17, 2018

IN THE NEWS: Nathan Wong, PhD, professor of medicine and director of the UCI Health Heart Disease Prevention Program, discusses heart health and managing diabetes with

[E]veryone needs to get physical activity — and it’s even more important when you have diabetes, which can also affect your heart. 

“What’s crucial is to understand that diabetes is not just about blood sugar,” says Wong. “Cardiovascular disease is really the major risk for people with diabetes.”

“One can live many healthy years with diabetes, but to ensure that, you have to get your risk factors under control,” says Wong. He adds that good control of your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 50 percent or more.

While aerobic activity is essential for maintaining heart health in people with diabetes, “weight training is integral to directly impacting diabetes itself,” says Stanley Bassin, EdD, a clinical professor of medicine and an exercise physiologist in the UCI Health Heart Disease Prevention Program.

Bassin emphasizes the importance of learning how to do resistance exercises properly before getting started. To prevent injury, find a certified, trained person to teach you  a weight-training program that is suitable for your age and physical condition,” he says.  This can be a personal trainer, an exercise physiologist, or another exercise professional.

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