Women with Type 2 diabetes find physical activity more difficult than non-diabetic women, which in turn threatens to make them more sedentary and cause their health to worsen, according to a new study.
In other words, the findings suggest, common household activities like climbing stairs or carrying groceries would feel more difficult to people with Type 2 diabetes than to their counterparts who don’t have diabetes.
“We know regular physical activity prevents premature disability and mortality from Type 2 diabetes mellitus and is a critical part of disease management,” said lead author Amy Huebschmann from University of Colorado.
“However, many people with the disease are generally sedentary for reasons that are not fully established,” Huebschmann added.
But researchers may now be getting closer to an answer.
The study looked at 54 overweight women between 50 and 75 years of age who reported doing less than one hour of physical activity per week.
Approximately half of them had Type 2 diabetes while the others did not. Women were studied because the effects of Type 2 diabetes on exercise and cardiovascular function are typically worse among females than males.
All of the women exercised on a stationary bicycle at a low to moderate intensity similar to the work needed to walk one mile in 25 minutes.
During the exercise, women reported how difficult it felt while also having blood drawn to test for lactate levels.
The researchers found significantly higher lactate levels during low to moderate intensity exercise in people with Type 2 diabetes than their counterparts without the disease.
They also tended to score higher on the Rating of Perceived Exertion that measures how difficult people rate the exercise.
“Exercise effort is an important barrier to physical activity because it is modifiable, and the perception of more intense effort during exercise has been associated with lower levels of usual physical activity,” the study said.
The study was published in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care.
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