Diabetes & Exercise – Will exercise worsen my health as I am a diabetic?
Staying fit by engaging in regular exercise or physical activity is highly beneficial to every person, not just diabetics. However for diabetics, it is a significant part of the treatment plan and is even more helpful in several ways like:
- Keeping glucose levels under control
- Making the muscle tissue more sensitive to insulin (especially for type 2 diabetics)
- Losing or maintaining weight
- Lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, stress
- Ensuring blood flow to the extremities
- Decreasing the risk for circulatory disorders
- Reducing the risk for heart disease and stroke
- Strenghtening heart, bones, muscles
- Keeping the joints flexible
- Reducing the chances of a fall by improving balance
- Getting adequate sleep
- Keeping depression at bay
What type of exercises are good for a Diabetic Patient?
For diabetics, even small amounts of physical activity are helpful. Before one starts an exercise program, it is essential to discuss it with your doctor and healthcare team. Depending on your medicines, food intake, other conditions, previous exercise history, they will recommend the right exercise type, time span and frequency suitable for you.
General exercise recommendations can be categorized as:
- Aerobic exercise: includes brisk walking, dancing, cycling, swimming, climbing stairs, playing sports like tennis, etc
- Involving in this form of exercise for 30 min to 60 min everyday has been shown to provide many benefits in type 2 diabetics
- One may start slowly from 5 to 10 mins exercise per day, and add some extra mins each week, gradually
- Muscle strenthening exercise: strength training with hand weights, elastic bands, or weight machines two to three times a week.
- This kind of exercise helps strengthen muscles and bones
- One may start with lower weights and gradually increase as muscles become stronger
- Stretching exercise: yoga, chair yoga
- Chair yoga can be performed even if the person has problems with moving or balancing
Some easy way to include exercise in your daily routine:
- Keep walking when you talk the on phone
- Use the stairs instead of elevator
- Walk down instead of using a vehicle for getting groceries or any work close to home or the office
- If you watch TV, move around during commercials instead sitting in front of the television
- Park your vehicle a little far from the place you need to go to and walk the rest of it.