Diabetes: Technology’s Role in Taking on the Beast

So you’re out to dinner with friends, four of you at the table. Look around. Everyone seems healthy, but appearances can be deceptive. In fact, chances are that one of you is pre-diabetic, at risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Some 79 million adults in the US are pre-diabetic, but only 11% know it. Unless they take action, it’s very likely they will develop full-blown Type 2 Diabetes.

This is not a club to which you want to belong. Diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the U.S.  More people die of it than of breast cancer, colon cancer or pancreatic cancer.

And it’s costing society a fortune:  One in five U.S. health-care dollars is now spent caring for people with diabetes.

In a recent New York Times story, Dr. Danielle Ofri described the tremendous challenges of managing diabetes, for both patient and doctor.  “Even with all the research and new treatments available, combating diabetes can feel like a Sisyphean task,” she said.

Nonetheless, as we observe World Diabetes Day, it’s important to know there’s also good news: Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented. And if you get the disease,  it can be controlled.

One of the most powerful tools for both prevention and management is exercise.

Along with healthy nutrition, physical activity has been found to be more effective for diabetes prevention than taking medication.

This is where digital technology can be a game-changer, making it easier than ever to get the benefits of exercise.

How specifically does technology help?

  • Prescription.  Digital fitness technologies can tailor an exercise regimen for every individual’s unique goals and bodies, so each of us gets the most out of our workouts.
  • Efficiency.  Through measurement and guidance, digital tools help us work out in less time so exercise fits into our busy lives.
  • Efficacy.  Data quantifies progress, demonstrating that the workouts are making a difference.
  • Motivation.  Through real-time feedback loops and other behavioral encouragement — including social networks — technology can provide virtual pats-on-the-back that keep you going.
  • Enjoyment.  Gamification techniques used in some fitness apps, and in Koko’s digitally-driven training studios, makes getting fit fun rather than a chore.

With continued research and innovation, this bad-news story can and will turn around. We’re taking on this beast of a disease, and over time, we’ll change those frightening numbers for good.

– Mary Obana, President & Co-Founder, Koko FitClub, LLC

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About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

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