Prediabetes doesn’t have to lead to Type 2 diabetes. It’s more like a yellow caution light. You have time to put on the brakes before the light turns red. That’s good news for the 98 million Americans estimated to be prediabetic. They have the opportunity to course correct, to change their fate.

But first, they need a diagnosis. And 81% of people don’t know they have the condition, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you suspect you might have prediabetes, take the quiz at And then contact your doctor.

Joyce Eury

Joyce Eury, a registered dietitian with Novant Health Diabetes & Nutrition - Westgate in Winston-Salem, helps people avoid getting diabetes – a condition that can be managed through a healthy diet and lifestyle choices. Eury also focuses on more than just diet with her patients. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, too.

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According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “engaging in aerobic exercise can have a significant positive impact on glycemic levels in individuals with prediabetes. It can also lead to reductions in BMI … and other relevant indicators.”

Evidence of the benefits of exercise are everywhere. According to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) website, “Exercise is one of the simplest and most effective ways to bring down blood-glucose levels, cut the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve overall health and well-being.”

We talked to Eury about how she encourages patients to get moving. And they should. People with a diagnosis of prediabetes still have time to change their future. Diabetes puts people at higher risk of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, vision problems, amputations, severely diminished quality of life, even death. But while in the “prediabetes” category, they can still reverse it.

What advice do you give patients who may have been sedentary for a long time and they tell you they don't like exercise?

That's always tough. I always hope people will find some benefit – mental health, better energy, better sleep, weight loss, strength and stamina – from exercise. Once they notice an improvement in some area of their life, that usually keeps them motivated to continue.

I haven’t encountered too many people who really just flat out don’t like to be active. It’s more often that their schedule gets in the way or maybe they don't like to get hot and sweaty. So, we might talk about different ways to be active. If you're not moving at all, then moving a little bit is going to be helpful.

Interval training is a great timesaver for people with busy or unpredictable schedules. It consists of short bursts of intense exercise followed by a recovery period. It’s easier to engage in shorter periods of vigorous exercise than it is to commit to a 45- to 60-minute jog or bike ride.

One great thing about interval training is that it can be applied to so many types of exercise – walking, running, biking, swimming. The goal is to raise your heart rate above 70% of your max and then follow that with a rest period. The intense bursts of exercise can range from a few seconds to eight minutes with recovery periods lasting the same amount of time. Your heart rate during recovery should be about 50% of its max.

Of course, if someone has pain, or extreme shortness of breath, they need to take precautions as they get started. Checking in with their doctor is a good idea before beginning a new regimen. But most people can just start slowly and build up their stamina.

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