Exercise can benefit everyone, including people with diabetes. It can play an essential part in managing your condition, blood sugar levels and weight, as well as improving your overall health and wellness.
In fact, physical exercise is so important that the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with type 2 diabetes should perform at least 150 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous exercise with no more than two consecutive days between bouts of activity.
There are many benefits of being active if you have type 1, type 2 or other types of diabetes. They include:
- Helps to improve cholesterol to reduce the risk of problems like heart disease. Exercise can raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides.
- Lowers your risk for stroke.
- Strengthens the heart and improves blood circulation.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Improves balance to prevent falls.
- It can lower your blood glucose levels and improve A1C levels.
- Cells become more sensitive to insulin and work more efficiently when they´re active.
- Strengthens muscles and bones.
- Helps you lose weight and keep it off after you´ve lost it.
- Improves the flexibility of your joints. This can make it easier to move when you are active.
- Relieves stress and reduces anxiety.
- Increases your energy levels and helps you to sleep better.
It´s important to remember the health benefits of exercise are enhanced if you´re eating a healthy diet and not smoking.
Types of Exercise
There isn’t one particular type of exercise that´s suitable for everyone with diabetes. The trick is to find what works best for you. This depends on a variety of factors, such as what type of exercise you enjoy and how much time you have.
It doesn’t matter where you are physically; it´s important to do something. Start slowly if exercising is new to you and you´ve never set foot in a gym before.
In general, it´s best to do a mixture of activities as these will exercise different parts of the body.
Here are a few ideas:
Swimming - stretches and relaxes your muscles and doesn´t put a lot of pressure on your joints.
Walking - can be done by almost anyone, anywhere. If you´ve got a dog, make regular trips to the park. It will do both you and your four-legged friend a world of good.
Dancing - put on some groovy music and let yourself go for a fun way to exercise. For those with limited physical abilities, sit on a chair and do some chair dancing. Chair-based exercises are particularly a good idea for people who have problems with their feet, such as neuropathy or foot ulcers.
Work out with video games - many video games on the market are designed to get people of all ages and conditions up on their feet. They offer a range of exercise programs and activities for all ability types.
Team sports - if you think you´ll be bored exercising on your own, join a recreational sports team. Consider basketball, softball and tennis pairs. You´ll get an excellent aerobic workout and the opportunity to socialize with teammates.
Exercising at Home
If you are spending a lot of time at home, there are still ways you can get moving. For example…
- Stretch your arms and legs while sitting in a chair.
- Use water bottles or cans of food as weights.
- Do some vacuuming.
- Walk on the spot for a few minutes, perhaps during TV commercials between programs.
- Do some yoga. If you´ve never tried it, learn through online classes and videos.
When To Exercise
According to Harvard Medical School, the best time for people with diabetes to exercise is one to three hours after eating when blood sugar levels are likely to be higher. If you´re taking insulin, they advise testing your blood sugar before exercising. If it is below 100 mg-dl, the recommendation is to eat a piece of fruit or a small snack to avoid hypoglycemia.
Talk To Your Healthcare Provider
You may want to consult a doctor or other healthcare provider in the first instance if you´re concerned about your health and haven´t been particularly active before. They will consider any complications you may have to help decide what´s best for you.
If you have diabetes and want to know more about boosting your general well-being or would like treatments for complications such as leg ulcers and varicose veins, please come and talk to us at the Midwest Institute for Non-Surgical Therapy. Dr. Akinwande and the friendly and experienced team can see you at one of five locations including the latest addition in Chicago, IL. Call 314 255 2204 to schedule an initial consultation.