How to stay active with Type 2 Diabetes

Exercises that will help you stay active with diabetes

In Summary

• From lowering your blood sugar and making your cells more sensitive to insulin, a daily workout combined with a good healthy diet can help your body stay more active.

• Wear a good shoe, a good sneaker or rubber-soled shoe can help cushion your feet when exercising.

A group of diabetics stretching
A group of diabetics stretching
Image: Courtesy: Pinterest

When you have type 2 diabetes, regular exercise does more than keep you in shape.

From lowering your blood sugar and making your cells more sensitive to insulin, a daily workout combined with a good healthy diet can help your body stay more active which also lowers your A1C levels.

The higher your A1C level is, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications.

According to health line, exercise prompts your muscles to take up sugar from your bloodstream, it helps your blood sugar levels drop more quickly after you eat a meal.

As you make exercise a regular habit, you'll see a downward trend in your A1C numbers.

It is also recommended that diabetic adults do flexibility and balance exercises two to three times a week.

Image: Courtesy: Pinterest
  • Walking

This is one of the easiest aerobic exercises to do, you don’t need any equipment, just your two feet.

Sparing at least 30 minutes each day for walking, be it outside where there is fresh air, or waking up and down the stairs count each day.

It also helps you relax or get ready for the daily activities that might be stressful.

Household chores that involve walking like mopping or vacuuming also count.

  • Yoga

This old practice that is more than 5000 years helps strengthen the body, improves flexibility and calms the mind.

It incorporates posing, stretching and deep breathing. The practice has been investigated for a number of health conditions including diabetes.

Practising yoga regularly improves blood glucose control of the body and prevent diabetes complications.

If you are unsteady from diabetic nerve damage, yoga can help you avoid falling.

Never push beyond your comfort level or to the point of pain.

Be sure to move out of poses slowly to avoid blood pressure drop.

Also consult with your doctor before attempting any exercise, for more advice and insight.

  • Stretch

Although it does not affect blood sugar control, it keeps your joints more flexible especially if you have arthritis and diabetes.

Remember to ask your physical therapist or trainer to teach you safe and easy stretches.

Image: Healthy living
  • Resistance train

This helps increase muscle mass and strengthen your body.

You can use light weights, resistance bands or your own body weight, like planks.

In people with type 2 diabetes, this helps improve blood sugar control and increase insulin resistance.

By also lowering the blood pressure and trimming excess fat, it might help you stay in shape.

Remember if you are just starting, work out with a professional trainer or physical therapist for a few sessions.

They will teach you what exercises to do to avoid injury.

Exercise and blood sugar

One sure downside of working out with diabetes is that it can cause a drop in blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia.

Anyone who takes insulin is advised to test their blood sugar before working out. You may need to lower your insulin dose to avoid dipping too low.

To exercise safely, your blood sugar before exercise should be between 90 and 250 mg/dl.

Some may need to take carbs at the beginning of the workout to prevent hypoglycemia.

Be sure to contact your doctor if your blood sugar runs on the lower side of normal.

Avoid intense exercise if your blood sugar is above 250mg/dl.

How to keep safe before exercising

Always stretch before exercising to avoid wear and tear of your joints

Wear a good shoe, a good sneaker or a rubber-soled shoe can help cushion your feet when exercising.

A diabetic should never walk without shoes, so avoid working out with bare feet

Nerve damage may help prevent you from noticing if you get a cut or injury.

Also start slowly, if you are new to fitness. It is okay to walk for 10 minutes or less, or lift very small weights then increase with time.

If you have proliferative diabetic retinopathy, avoid jumping, holding your breath or getting into inverted poses, where your head is below your body.

Remember to choose an exercise routine you like so that you stick more to it, and also consult your doctor to find the best diet to combine with the workout.

Edited by D Tarus

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