Exercise for Diabetes: What Type and How Much?
If you are diabetic, you have probably heard of the importance of including exercise in your daily routine multiple times. Patients with type 2 diabetes need to maintain an active lifestyle along with taking a low-fat diet in order to keep their blood sugar levels under control.
However, it may be challenging for those of you who have not worked out for a long time to commit to it everyday. Apart from following a regime, it is also important to know what type of exercise and how much of it would be beneficial for your condition.
Exercise & Diabetes
Exercise is strongly recommended for those who have type 2 diabetes because when you exercise your muscles and liver release extra glucose to fuel your energy, which helps lower your blood sugar levels. However, exercising doesn’t mean that you have to be a long-distance runner or a heavy weight-lifter.
It pays off when you do it in moderation for a longer duration as your muscles take much more glucose when you do that. Regular physical activity also lowers the risk of complications associated with diabetes such as kidney, heart, eye, and foot problems.
If you have diabetes and you think you may be suffering from any underlying issues such as heart, kidney, eye or nerve problems, you should first consult health care professionals before taking up any exercise other than walking. Even if you’re not sure you have any of these complications, Canadian diabetes experts recommend talking to your doctors before exercising.
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Even after this recommendation, most people with diabetes can adopt a mix of cardio (endurance) and resistance activities in their workout program. Here are a few different types of both kinds of activities along with recommended durations for diabetic patients:
These exercises are easy to make a part of your routine. It’s important that you choose an activity based on your interests so that it doesn’t feel forced and can be kept up with more easily.
Remember, unlike a hobby, this is not something to pick up and forget the next day. Be reasonable with your choices and stick to them. A few examples of endurance or cardio activities for your daily regime could be:
- 1. Brisk walking: Start your day with a walk around the bloc, depending on how that works out for your blood sugar. You can even include this in your daily routine by making small but significant lifestyle changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator at home or work.
- 2. Biking: Another way to ensure that you’re staying fit is by choosing this eco-friendly mode of transportation. If you live close to your workplace, try commuting on a bike or just include a daily biking trip to the nearby grocery store instead of driving down.
- 3. Dancing: Arguably the most fun way to manage weight and lower your blood sugar levels is by dancing your heart out. Dancing every day for 30 mins will definitely keep you healthier and happier.
- 4. Tennis: You can choose to play tennis or any other sport that gets you excited as it will be much easier to commit to. Find out about your nearby sports clubs or just give your dusty equipment a swing with your loved ones.
More commonly perceived to be weightlifting exercises, resistance activities can be any physical work out that requires you to lift or push something including your body weight. You can discipline yourself to exercise every day by subscribing to a gym membership or create a home-gym for resistance activities.
Again, make sure you consult a trainer or your health expert about the impact of each exercise on your blood sugar levels. Some examples of resistance work out can be:
- Weight training: These exercises allow you to build and maintain muscle weight for better health. You can indulge every part of your body including chest, shoulder, back, depending on the results that you are aiming for.
- Sit-ups and push ups: A lot of strength training or resistance activities such as sit ups or pushups can be done from the comforts of your home without committing to anything other than a few minutes of your day.
- Squats and lunges: Just like sit ups and push ups, squats and lunges do not require any equipment are really efficient resistance activities that can help you build muscle strength.
- Workout from home: Many physical activities at home, like carrying your groceries, heavy yard work out or gardening can also be included as part of your exercise regime, if that seems easier to commit to.
Exercising regularly will not only help you keep your blood sugar level under control but also lead you towards your ideal weight and lower the risk of complications associated with diabetes. Including these activities for just 30 minutes every day or 150 minutes per week will help you in managing diabetes efficiently, according to experts.
Make sure to keep checking your blood sugar levels before and after your workouts to know what works best for your glucose levels and to avoid the risk of a drop.