Active and Mindful Lifestyles: Essential Components in Diabetes Prevention and Management
Living an active and balanced life is a vital component to overall health. The mind and body are intricately connected, and one must take care of both in order to lead a long, productive and fulfilling life.
Regular physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and ensuring proper fitness of the muscles, bones, nerves and tissues of the body. Different forms of deliberate physical exercises, such as running, bicycling, swimming, weight-lifting, and team sports, as well as consistent physical movement throughout the day, in the form of walking or physical exertion during work for example, are important factors in the prevention of many chronic diseases, especially type 2 diabetes and heart disease. On the other hand, sedentary lifestyles in an increasingly urbanized and globalized world, are one of the biggest reasons for the rising global epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Maintaining mental health is also critical to overall quality of life, and in both the prevention and management of diabetes. Stress, anxiety and depression has been connected to increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics are also far more likely to suffer from these mental health conditions after being diagnosed. Practicing mindfulness exercises and daily physical activity has been shown repeatedly to help manage stress and depression, and promote mental balance and happiness.
There can be extensive positive overlap between physical and mindfulness activities. For example, yoga and tai chi are typically considered mindfulness exercises, but they also require physical exertion. They help to tone muscles, strengthen bones and enhance the performance of other parts of the body, including the heart. Going for a hike in nature is a physical exercise activity, but the enhancement in mental well-being that occurs from being in a natural setting is an important added benefit. Participating in team sports like basketball and soccer can be great physical exercise, and can also build a sense of community and personal confidence, which strengthens mental health. Traveling can help expand one’s mind and gain appreciation for other perspectives and cultures, while often encouraging physical activity during this exploration as well. It’s best to keep in mind that all physical and mental exercises should work to build overall health of both the mind and body, which combined with healthful eating, forms a holistic approach to living a healthy, happy and conscious life.
Learn More About How Living Actively and Mindfully Promotes Overall Health and the Importance of Lifestyle in Diabetes Prevention and Management
Resources and Further Reading
A Review looking at the benefit of nature to overall health, the consequences of urbanization around the world and the need for more green spaces: https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182443
A study looking at how physical activity levels and sedentary lifestyle behaviors decrease and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes incidence, independently and jointly. http://drc.bmj.com/content/4/1/e000185
For a comprehensive look at exercise and its important role in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2992225/pdf/zdce147.pdf
A study looking at stress as a modifiable risk factor for diabetes incidence and diabetes complications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28664919
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