6 Great Exercises for People With Diabetes

Do you get enough exercise?
If your answer is no, that’s a shame, because working out can help increase insulin action and keep blood sugars in check. Exercise also helps you lose weight and improve balance, which is important because many people with type 2 diabetes are at risk for obesity and for falls. It is recommend that anyone over 40 with diabetes include balance training as part of their weekly routine, at least two to three days per weeks. It can be as simple as practicing balancing on one leg at a time, or more complex — like tai chi exercises. Lower body and core resistance exercises also double as balance training.

Here are six great workouts you can easily work into your daily routine. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen and remember to go slowly at first. Over time, you can increase the length and intensity of your routine.

Walking
Walking is easy. All you need is a good pair of shoes and somewhere to go. Walking is probably one of the most prescribed activities for people with type 2 diabetes. Brisk walking done at a pace that raises the heart rate is an aerobic exercise, and studies show beneficial effects when people with diabetes participate in aerobic activities at least three days a week for a total of 150 minutes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends people not go more than two consecutive days without an aerobic exercise session.

Tai Chi
Tai chi, a series of movements performed in a slow and relaxed manner over 30 minutes, has been practiced for centuries. At least one small study has confirmed it is an excellent choice of exercise for type 2 diabetes. Tai chi is ideal for people with diabetes because it provides fitness and stress reduction in one. Tai chi also improves balance and may reduce nerve damage, a common diabetic complication — though the latter benefit “remains unproven.” Still, working on your balance daily is a critical component of staying on your feet as you age, and living well and independently throughout your lifetime. If you don’t do tai chi, incorporate some other balance exercises into your weekly routine to reduce your risk of falling.

Weight Training
I can’t say enough about the benefits of weight training, not just for people with diabetes but for everyone. Weight training builds muscle mass, important for those with type 2 diabetes. If you lose muscle mass, you have a lot harder time maintaining your blood sugar. Plan for resistance exercise or weight training at least twice a week as part of your diabetic management plan — three is ideal, but always schedule a rest day between weight workouts (other exercise is fine on those days). Each session should include 5 to 10 different types of lifting involving the major muscle groups. For optimal strength gains, work your way up to doing three to four sets of each exercise, with each set comprising 10 to 15 repetitions.

Yoga
Many studies show that if you have diabetes, yoga can benefit you in several ways. It can help lower body fat, fight insulin resistance, and improve nerve function — all important when you have type 2 diabetes. Like tai chi, yoga is also a great diabetic stress reducer. When stress levels go higher, so do your blood sugar levels. One of the advantages of yoga as an exercise is that you can do it as often as you like. The more the better. A study published in March 2017 in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health concluded exercise helps lessen depressive symptoms in adults with type 2 diabetes and suggested that less exercise may be required for people who are obese in order to achieve meaningful results.

Stationary Bicycling
Bicycling is also a form of aerobic exercise, one that makes your heart stronger and your lungs function better. A stationary bike is ideal for people with diabetes because you can do it inside, no matter the weather, and you don’t have to worry about falling or getting a flat when you’re a long way from home. Bicycling improves blood flow to your legs — a great benefit for people with diabetes — and burns lots of calories to keep your weight at healthy levels.

Swimming
Swimming is another aerobic exercise — and an ideal one for people with type 2 diabetes because it doesn’t put pressure on your joints. Being buoyed by the water is less stressful for you. Swimming also is easier on your feet than other forms of exercise, such as walking or jogging. Very often diabetes reduces blood flow to the small blood vessels of your extremities and you can lose sensation in your feet as a result. People with diabetes must avoid foot injuries, even minor cuts or blisters, because they can be slow to heal and are prone to infection. Special shoes made for use in the pool can help prevent scraped feet and lessen the risk of slipping.

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30 Nov, 2018

Health,  Women,  Workout

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