September 24, 2008 > Exercise That's Good for Your Heart and Lungs
Exercise That's Good for Your Heart and Lungs
Diabetes Matters Class Focuses on Resistance Exercises for Better Glucose Control
When it comes to diabetes, even the smallest actions you take - or don't take - add up. There's no getting around it. To walk or not to walk. Fries or a side salad with low-fat dressing. To quit smoking today or tomorrow.
The truth is that diabetes, a chronic condition characterized by high glucose levels resulting from defects in insulin action and/or secretion, is a lifelong battle. But it is a manageable one.
On Oct. 2 from 7 to 8 p.m., Margaret Chaika, Respiratory Care Practitioner, coordinator of Washington Hospital's Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, will present "Exercise That's Good for Your Heart and Lungs," a Diabetes Matters seminar.
During her presentation, Chaika will cover the basics of heart and lung health and the connection between the two, as well as the correlation to diabetes and how exercise affects all of these factors.
One of the best ways to gain better control of blood glucose numbers, in addition to monitoring your diet and glucose levels regularly, is resistance exercise, according to Chaika.
"I'm going to focus on the fact that any level of movement that helps control blood sugar levels is good," Chaika explains. "Getting a pedometer is a good idea."
She points out that according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it's perfectly acceptable to break up exercise into small increments. If you're out of shape or have other health factors, Chaika recommends finding small ways to get moving.
Getting up and walking during your favorite TV program's commercial breaks is one way, she says. Lifting soup cans while you watch television is another.
The most important aspect of beginning any type of exercise routine, no matter how small, she says, is to consult with a health care professional before beginning.
"Everybody needs a kick start, and they need to know guidelines before they begin exercising; otherwise, there's a good chance they'll go out and hurt themselves and then stop exercising again," Chaika says.
"Patients with diabetes should get an okay from their physician before starting an exercise program. A referral is required to participate in Washington Hospital's Diabetes Exercise Program and Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, especially if they don't know what their blood sugars are going to do upon beginning an exercise routine. Some people's blood sugars drop after doing exercise, so it's important to how their medications are going to respond to an activity before beginning."
For patients experiencing shortness of breath, the reasons can be cardiac, pulmonary or cardiovascular. Or it may be that they are simply out of shape, Chaika says. It's important, therefore, to have an exercise study done before even beginning a moderate walking program. For those with a history of smoking, she recommends having a breathing test as well.
As a lung health practitioner, Chaika says quitting smoking is her soapbox.
"If you have cardiac disease, lung disease, diabetes or any of the above, you have to quit smoking," she says. "That's one thing you can control. I don't care if you quit once or seven times, it's a process. Don't give up. There are plenty of resources available, including many new medications on the market that show good improvement for quitting. Smoking cessation programs also help. Keep learning; knowledge is power."
Washington Hospital offers a four-week smoking cessation program focused on teaching the tools necessary to kick the habit for good. The next program begins Monday, Oct. 6, and takes place over four consecutive Mondays.
Overall, Chaika says taking medications in accordance with your doctor's orders, exercising and diligently testing blood glucose are some of the key factors to managing diabetes.
"It's important to have the right tools," she says. "These include a pedometer, a glucose meter, a nutritionist, the hospital's diabetes coordinator and a heart rate monitor to ensure you are exercising within the right range for you."
Chaika also recommends getting the facts about diabetes by visiting Washington Hospital's Web site at www.whhs.com and taking advantage of the information available through the hospital's Krames Online tool. From the home page, click on "The Community" and select "Krames Online (Patient Education Resource)."
The tools you need to take charge of your diabetes
To find out more or to register for the Stop Smoking Program, call Health Connection at (800) 963-7070.
To learn more about lung health, diabetes and effective resistance exercise, join Margaret Chaika from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont, across the street from the main hospital.
To register, call (510) 745-6556.
For more information about Washington Hospital's Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, visit www.whhs.com, click on "Services & Programs," choose "Heart Program" from the drop-down menu and select "Cardiac Rehabilitation."