FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2003
CONTACT: Carol Anderson
Walk, Run or Swim, But Get Moving
Toward Good Diabetic Health
YPSILANTI Everyone knows its the thing to do, but eating
healthy takes effort and exercise can be boring. Without motivation, people
rarely do something simply because its good for them. But when the subject
is exercise, people are even more reluctant to change.
But change is exactly what Eastern Michigan Universitys Shel Levine wants
people to do. As assistant professor of clinical exercise physiology and coordinator
of the exercise science program, he knows the benefits of exercising and encourages
individuals, especially diabetics, to find their personal motivation to become
Levine talks to groups about exercise and stresses the benefits for diabetics
in reducing the risk of heart disease.
A few years ago, a diabetic gave Levine the key to people starting
an exercise program and sticking with it.
Following one of his lectures, Levine had an audience member come to him for
advice. From the attendees diary of vital personal statistics, Levine
discovered the individual was a diabetic who, a year earlier, had been overweight,
inactive, had high sugar levels and was taking a lot of insulin for his weight.
Within a year, the man had lost 100 pounds and drastically reduced his 240-250
blood sugar levels to 130-140. In addition, he was off insulin and was taking
This (going from insulin to pills) usually doesnt ever happen,
said Levine, who asked the audience member what he did to get those results.
The individual said he started walking 10 minutes a day on a treadmill and
currently was doing 75 minutes daily. The man was 72 years old!
Why did you so radically turn your life around at 72?
Levine asked. The man replied, My grandkids are having kids and
I want to see them.
An external goal of rewarding oneself with clothes or material things wont sustain a long-term exercise routine for most people, he said. Its internal motivation that people need.
Diabetes management is a balancing act, said Levine, who defines
diabetes as the inability for individuals to eliminate glucose from their bloodstream.
There are two types of diabetes. Type 1, previously called juvenile diabetes,
develops when the pancreas doesnt produce insulin, he said. With type
2, formerly known as adult onset diabetes, the body produces insulin, but cant
maintain adequate blood sugar levels.
Exercise will get the blood sugar under control, said Levine.
Each diabetic must balance medication, diet and exercise to properly manage
glucose in their bloodstream, said Levine. Medication is either insulin or oral
hypoglycemic agents (pills). Diet is basically eliminating simple carbohydrates
such as candy and pop, and controlling complex carbohydrates. Exercise is aerobic
and includes walking, running, swimming, biking or stair climbing.
This balancing act becomes even more important when risk factors such as high
blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking or inactivity enter the picture, he
said. Without any additional risk factors, diabetics are at a slightly higher
risk for heart disease than those without diabetes.
He cites the Framingham Heart Study that states one risk factor increases a
diabetics chances of heart disease by two times; two risk factors, eight
times; and three risk factors, 11.2 times.
Mens Fitness magazine (January 2002) named Detroit the third
fattest city in the United States. The magazine evaluated the 50 largest U.S.
cities using 16 categories, including sports participation, smoking, drinking,
air and water quality, length of commute, availability of parks/open spaces
and percentage of overweight/sedentary residents.
Even among people with the highest risk of developing obesity-related health
problems, such as diabetes, only 37 percent change their eating habits to lose
weight, reports a 1994 poll by the former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.
Before coming to EMU in 1999, Levine spent 14 years in cardiovascular rehabilitation
as a clinical exercise physiologist at Botsford General Hospital in Farmington
Hills and the Medical College of Ohio. He is certified by the American College
of Sports Medicine as an exercise specialist and has a masters degree
in exercise physiology. He recommends that people check with their doctor before
starting an exercise program.
For information on upcoming lectures, contact Levine at 734.487.7120, ext.
Eastern Michigan University is a public comprehensive, metropolitan university
that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students
with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers
and lives, and to be better citizens.