Primarily, one should remark that physical activity is a movement like walking or dancing; it is not necessary to go to a gym every day or work out with special equipment to benefit from exercise. Nonetheless, regular physical training is vital in managing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) since it is a full-fledged method of treating the chronic disease. Thus, it is known for sure that type 2 diabetes mellitus manifests itself due to insulin immunity. Consequently, this paper is a thorough and comprehensive analysis of physical activity in the management of type 2 diabetes, a careful and detailed study of activity levels among people living with diabetes in the particular territory, Saudi Arabia, as well as the proposal and evaluation of precise and apparent changes in advice and policies for the involvement of patients in the world of physical culture.
Reviewing the Evidence
Role of Physical Activity
It is no secret that physical activity plays an essential and significant role in treating and preventing type 2 diabetes (T2DM), along with proper nutrition, regular self-monitoring, and taking hypoglycemic medications. In general, training enhances the body’s metabolic health in patients in the context of increasing the absorption and utilization of glycolipids, improving insulin sensitivity, modulation of DNA methylation, optimizing body mass index, and much more (Yang et al., 2019, p. 313). It is noteworthy that in the absence of insulin in the body, muscle cells can still absorb glucose due to contractions occurring during exercise. By and large, under the influence of physical exertion, microcirculation enhances, energy metabolism in the myocardium improves, calcium metabolism normalizes, oxidative stress, the rate of cardiomyocyte apoptosis, and the severity of fibrosis are reduced. Thus, regular exercise is a critical non-drug method of reducing cardiovascular risk.
In particular, T2DM manifests itself in many ways as one of the critical factors in increasing the likelihood of insufficient muscle strength. However, an individual can avoid this concern by training that increases muscle mass and strength. Hence, for instance, stretching exercises improve a person’s flexibility and range of motion, balance training reduces the risk of falling, making walking more effective, and tai chi improves balance and quality of life, minimizing diabetes symptoms. Accordingly, aerobics and fitness are the keys to success, good results, and high achievements in the field of diabetes management.
Different Types of Exercises
One must highlight that yoga, cycling, swimming, walking, aerobic dance, team sports, weightlifting, calisthenics, pilates, and resistance band exercises are the most acceptable and allowable activities for patients with T2DM. Furthermore, aerobic, resistance, and combined training are the most effective, productive, and valuable types of physical exercises that significantly reduce HbA1c (Pan et al., 2018, p. 1). Physical activity for many people can be general cleaning of apartments, repairs, or work in the garden. According to reliable, trustworthy, and objective information, regular physical pieces of training with a low shock load are a “synonym” for a phenomenon that is especially favorable for a person with diabetes, from the point of view of which the blood sugar level is gradually decreasing, and the criteria for diabetes are actively disappearing (10 exercises for diabetes, 2022, para. 30-34). Nevertheless, it is not recommended to forget about the various restrictions and prohibitions caused by the psychological and physiological characteristics of the body: it is always crucial to consult with a healthcare specialist and follow the essential prescriptions and safety standards. Physical activity should be at least three times a week; in this case, one can count on positive effects.
It is essential to recognize and focus on the fact that numerous landmark trials are associated explicitly with examinations for type 2 diabetes in the spectrum of pharmacological therapy and the use of metformin, sulfonylurea drugs, and insulin. Regardless, a few landmark practices demonstrate positive dynamics in reducing the mortality rate from this chronic illness by increasing the intensity of physical activity (Anderson and Durstine, 2019, p. 7). Moreover, researchers from the Cooper Institute proved once again in 1989 a strong correlation between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and mortality chance, thereby determining the trajectory of the evolution of medicine as a whole (Farrell, 2020, para. 3). Therefore, relying on such data, lack of physical exercise is a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease like T2DM.
Psychological and Physiological Impact
As practice shows, such physical exercises used for weakened and sick individuals with T2DM in the appropriate dosage and appealing to unique techniques enhance the work of organs, tissues, and the body’s resistance to colds and improve compensatory mechanisms and psycho-emotional tone of patients. In addition, they serve as a basis for health promotion and disease prevention, forming an entirely new dynamic stereotype that contributes to the reduction or disappearance of pathological manifestations. Consequently, a person’s organism is most attuned to increased insulin sensitivity, making it easier to cope with diabetes due to more advanced blood sugar control and a significant reduction in the risk of certain diseases (Get active!, 2021, para. 2). In particular, under the influence of training, the state of central nervous processes is normalized. For instance, Singh and Khandelwal (2020, p. 150) claim that yoga as one of the types of physical activity is the most promising strategy for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes by controlling psychosocial parameters and advancing the quality of life. Hence, physical exercises allow a person to overcome muscle weakness, increase the body’s impedance to several adverse factors, and positively affect the nervous system and mood.
The Levels of Activity and Changes in Advice and Policy
The Levels of Activity
In most cases, people with T2DM from Saudi Arabia lead a sedentary and inactive lifestyle, which is dangerous for anyone at any age. Approximately 30% of the 1111 residents of this region fully adhere to the recommendations regarding the adequate duration of physical activity per week (Ramadhan et al., 2019, p. 3668). Hence, in this situation, one should talk about the low level of activity in the country. Accordingly, this phenomenon causes alarm and profound concern for the well-being and fate of people living in Saudi Arabia.
More than 18% of the country’s citizens suffer from type 1 and type 2 diabetes. According to the statistics on such a chronic health condition, about 60% of Saudi Arabian adults tend to avoid physical training, exercise, and activities (Alahmed and Lobelo, 2018, p. 3). Relying on different data, the percentage of “supine people” is more than 66% of the total population; women are more at risk of various diseases due to their idleness and passiveness (Alahmed and Lobelo, 2018, p. 3). Notably, older people living on the territory, whose average age is 56 years, mainly have T2DM, a factor in the development of which is insufficient physical activity (Alramadan et al., 2018, p. 1). Non-compliance with physical activity by residents of the region is due to the female gender and old age, low economic status and level of education, lack of support from relatives and families, longer duration of the illness, and much more (Ramadhan et al., 2019, p. 3668). Such disappointing circumstances give grounds for reflection, based on which it is recommended to create and develop clear measures to restrain the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, instilling in locals love of physical culture.
Changes in Policy
It is no secret that the characteristics of the residential infrastructure of the population affect their transport and recreational physical activity, the use of cars and bicycles as means of transportation. Thus, in order to enhance patients’ participation in physical activity, the government of Saudi Arabia should emphasize the development and expansion of an infrastructure policy. Based on the actual investigation, this tactic seems to be one of the most effective, useful, and efficient in terms of familiarizing people with T2DM to physical activities (Gelius et al., 2020, p. 12). Specifically, it should include improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in all areas, as well as improving access to recreational areas, including active ones (Gelius et al., 2020, p. 8). Theoretically, this action can reduce the “auto-dependence” of the population. Without any doubt, this decision will help encourage residents of the country to be more active through frequent walking or cycling, as well as outdoor activities and games.
Special attention is being paid to the environmental impact and, in particular, the study of the effects of urban infrastructures on public health. This concept includes the analysis of buildings, transport communications, street design, and public spaces, as well as access to infrastructure resources such as healthy food, recreation areas, and places for physical activity. In Saudi Arabia, the formation of a health-saving environment is part of the tasks of many programs and projects developed by government agencies based on intersectoral cooperation.
Applying Ideas in Practice
Analysis of the studies and statistical data mentioned earlier suggests the need for attention to urban construction and planning within the framework of the concept of prevention and treatment of the chronic non-communicable disease. Accordingly, the policy will be implemented in practice mainly at the expense of financial, material, and human resources. However, before starting work on the performance of the plan, it is necessary to collect the essential details and, based on them, compare places and areas of residence, the social and ecological environment of districts, time of day and week of patients’ activity, motivating factors for physical activity, sexual characteristics and a number of other moments. When analyzing the residential infrastructure, both objective multilevel technologies are used, in particular geoinformation technologies (GIS technologies), which allow the creation of maps of the area, taking into account factors affecting health, and subjective ones, for example, a survey of the population directly living in the studied territory, as well as a survey of experts on the developed question templates.
One should comprehend that creating favorable conditions for physical education and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for patients with T2DM is not enough. Therefore, the intervention improves the aspect of the built-up environment within the density of residential and working places, the quality of sidewalks, and redevelopment of streets (Gelius et al., 2020, p. 11). In addition, several other equally essential elements help to achieve active involvement of patients in the process.
Structured Education as an Aid to the Population
Indeed, there is a high probability that structured education as a tactic to encourage physical activity will provide exceptional assistance and support to the population of Saudi Arabia. Thus, for example, Alahmed and Lobelo (2018, p. 8) emphasize that recommendations of medical professionals, by their essence and nature, are a practical approach that has a considerable influence on the regular physical activity of citizens from the country in the framework of adopting a healthy lifestyle. In this case, it is possible that this type of “enlightenment,” which should be included in routine care, will benefit glucose control and hypoglycemia in patients with T2DM (Yorke and Atiase, 2018, p. 41). Nevertheless, despite the progress made in the medical research field, to date, there is insufficient objective and reliable data about the possible impact of structured education on Saudi residents. Hence, additional research is required to form more precise conclusions.
Therefore, summarizing the above information, it is necessary to state that physical activity and exercise play a critical role in curing T2DM. Hence, these concepts are not only helpful but also an independent method of treating and preventing diabetes mellitus. Moreover, regular physical activity increases the sensitivity of cells to insulin, reduces blood glucose, and helps to lower weight. In addition, exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, improves lipid metabolism, and helps control hypertension.
Furthermore, the student additionally analyzed the level of activity among people living with diabetes in Saudi Arabia. Thus, the results of this study showed a disappointing picture of the situation: most of the adult population tries to avoid physical training. Accordingly, to minimize and eliminate the concern, the administration of Saudi Arabia should elaborate on the development and implementation of the new policy for the infrastructure of cities to attract nationals to active exercises.
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