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Self-Care

Exercise Improves Cardiovascular Conditions Of Diabetes And Hypertension Patients


Research has shown that exercise provides multiple benefits, including improved cardiovascular functioning, reduction in body fat and an increase in muscle mass. These changes also help improve sensitivity to insulin and blood pressure, experts say. As a result of these health improvements, researchers suggest that exercise may have positive effects on patients with type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

Kerry J. Stewart, Ed.D., of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, reviewed medical literature from January 1985 to June 2002 to gather information on exercise, type 2 diabetes and hypertension. After performing the search, Stewart developed guidelines for patients with these conditions based on the articles she reviewed.

The analysis evaluated 235 citations from peer-reviewed journals, professional society guidelines and books.

"This review of the available data suggests plausible mechanisms by which exercise training improves the cardiovascular consequences of type 2 diabetes and hypertension, mechanisms that go beyond the established benefits of exercise on glycemic control and blood pressure reduction," said Stewart.

The recommendations for patients with type 2 diabetes and hypertension include the following exercises, according to Stewart:

* Warm-up and cool-down period of five to 10 minutes each including stretching.

* Aerobic exercise including walking, cycling and swimming at 55 percent to 79 percent of maximum heart rate (or 50 percent to 60 percent of maximum heart rate for patients with low initial fitness levels) for 30 to 45 minutes.

* Resistance training, including weight lifting for 20 minutes for one set each for eight to 10 exercises.

Aerobic exercise should be done three to four times a week and more frequently if weight reduction is one of the goals, Stewart said.


© 2002 Health Resources Publishing