Regular exercise can help lower your blood sugar and make your cells more sensitive to the effects of insulin. Getting more active can also lower your A1C levels.
Staying fit has many other benefits too. Diabetes can raise your risk of heart disease. Exercise helps people manage their weight, reduces levels of bad cholesterol, and increases levels of good cholesterol. All of these are good for your heart.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that adults with diabetes get at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise a week. Combine that with two to three sessions of weight training weekly.
The American Diabetes Association suggests doing flexibility exercises two to three times a week for older adults.
You don’t need to go to the gym to become more active. You can do some of these exercises at home.
Walking is one of the easiest aerobic exercises to do and you don’t need any equipment—just your two feet. To make sure you are getting the steps you need daily take a short break every 30 minutes and go for a walk outside or around your home. house.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day, such as walking or running.
You can walk in place or use a treadmill, which involves walking up and down the stairs. Household chores that involve walking, like mopping or vacuuming also count.
Yoga is a 5000-year-old practice that strengthens the body, improves flexibility and calms the mind. This practice has been investigated for a number of health conditions including diabetes.
Yoga is a good way to help control blood sugar and avoid diabetes complications. Yoga also incorporates balance exercises that can help you avoid a fall if you have diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy).
Some yoga poses are safer for people with diabetes than others. Take a class or watch a video if you want to learn how to do the poses correctly. Never push yourself beyond your comfort level or the point of pain. Be sure to move out of poses slowly so that your blood pressure remains stable.
The Pilates Method is named for Joseph Pilates, who created this exercise program in the 1920s. It consists of low impact exercises that strengthen the core muscles and improve balance and posture.
Some clinical studies suggest that practicing Pilates for 12 weeks improves blood sugar control and quality-of-life factors such as fatigue and pain in women with type 2 diabetes. You can practice these exercises with nothing more than a mat in your own home.
Dance aerobics is a fun way to spice up your aerobic routine. Dance videos from ballet, Zumba, or barre class are all free on the web and you can download whatever workout you like to follow along.
A 2015 study found that taking a Zumba class motivated women with type 2 diabetes to exercise more and lose weight.
Exercise machines such as an elliptical machine or an exercise bike can help you get an aerobic workout without placing stress on your joints. That’s very important because people with diabetes are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than those without it. Some fitness machines offer classes to help you strengthen weak areas and improve overall health. Have an at-home gym experience.
If you are short on time, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This form of exercise squeezes all the benefits of a longer workout into just 20 or 30 minutes. For example, for 30 seconds you can do sprinting in place and jumping; then for 2 minutes you can do light exercises such as walking and stretching. Your body has a chance to recover.
In one small study, people with type 2 diabetes took part in an intensive workout. The HIIT group improved their metabolism and insulin sensitivity twice as much as people who participated in a moderate-intensity workout.
HIIT is intense. It’s not safe for everyone with diabetes or other health conditions. Check with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to do this program.
Stretching does not affect blood sugar control, but it will keep your joints more flexible. That is especially important if you have arthritis along with diabetes. Ask your trainer or physical therapist to teach you safe stretching exercises.
Resistance strengthens your body. You can use light weights or your own body weight to build strength. Working against the force of resistance increases muscle mass and strengthens your body. You can use planks to build strength.
It is possible that exercise may help to control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Exercise may also help to improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood pressure, and reduce fat stores. If you are just starting out, ask your doctor or trainer about the first few sessions on how to do exercises. Hold the leaves so they are safe to hold.
These workouts will have the greatest impact on your health when you combine them. Alternate walking or cycling which is good for your cardiovascular health with strength training, which strengthens your muscles.
Add yoga for strength balance and relaxation. And don’t forget to stretch a couple of days a week.
Working out with diabetes can cause blood sugar levels to drop. To avoid this, everyone with diabetes should test their blood sugar before working out. If the blood sugar drops too low, they may lower their insulin dose to avoid it dipping too low.
If you are exercising, your blood sugar should be between 90 and 250 mg/dl. If you are healthy, you may eat carbs before exercise to prevent hypoglycemia. Contact your doctor if your blood sugar is lower than normal.
If your blood sugar is over 250 mg/dL, avoid intense exercise. Intense exercise might spike your blood sugar even higher.
Altering your workout slightly can prevent hypoglycemia. For example, doing resistance exercises before aerobics produces less of a blood sugar drop than working out the other way around.
If you haven’t been active recently, see your doctor to make sure that it’s okay for you to exercise. See your doctor if you plan on increasing the intensity of your workouts.
Here are a few tips to exercise safely:
- It’s OK if you’re only able to walk for 10 minutes or lift 3-pound weights on your first try. Gradually increase the time resistance and intensity as you get fitter and stronger.
- Wear supportive shoes when you exercise. Don’t exercise barefoot. Nerve damage may prevent you from noticing if you get a cut or other injury on your feet.
- If you have diabetic retinopathy, avoid jumping or holding your breath when you jump. When you hold your breath while jumping, oxygen is not available to the eyes. This can cause blindness.
- Stretching before exercising will help avoid joint pain.
Exercise is an important part of your type 2 diabetes treatment plan. Working out at least 150 minutes a week can help you lose weight, improve your heart health and manage blood sugar.
Exercise at home is inexpensive and makes exercise more convenient. Choose an exercise routine that you like, so that you will be more likely to follow it.