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Exercise for Diabetes – Can Physical Activity Alone Control Blood Sugar?

Diabetes has become one of the most common problems among the people today. This disease refers to a group of metabolic diseases where a person develops a high blood glucose/blood sugar, either because the body cells do not respond to the insulin or because the production of insulin is inadequate in the body. Diabetes affects both men and women in their middle age. However, it has also started affecting the people in their 20s and 30s following a number of reasons today.

Exercise for diabetes

People often follow a full-fledged medication in order to treat their sugar levels to control diabetes. But do you know there are a few exercises for diabetes control and treatment as well? Exercise is really considered to be good for the people with diabetes, especially with type 2 diabetes. The best exercises for diabetes help to increase the levels of energy, control of the levels of blood sugar, improvement of the health of your heart as well as the promotion of an emotional well-being.

Today, a number of doctors are recommending the exercise for diabetes to all the patients who are suffering from diabetes. This is because a proper exercise for diabetic patient helps to bar a number of medical complications that happen while any diabetic patient is on his medication. Thus, regular exercise helps a person to get rid of diabetes and to keep himself fit and healthy.

How do the exercises for people with diabetes lower the blood sugar?

Exercise for diabetes helps to lower down the blood sugar levels in two different ways:

  • Firstly, regular sessions of exercise help to increase the sensitivity of insulin. This suggests that the cells of your body are able to use the insulin to absorb the sugar from the bloodstream in a better way which could be used as a source of energy for your body.
  • Secondly, regular sessions of exercise help to stimulate various other mechanisms in the body which eventually permit your muscles to absorb and make the use of sugar for energy, even without the presence of insulin.

Apart from lowering the blood sugar levels from the body in short-term, exercise for diabetes also contributes to lower the levels of A1c over the time.

Exercise and Diabetes:

Preventing the occurrence of diabetes for all those people who suffer from pre-diabetic conditions or managing the symptoms for all those who are already suffering the condition is very important. Not only to prevent complication but to also maintain a good health. Exercise for diabetes is a proven way to manage diabetes that limits the usage of medicines.

Exercise has majorly been proven to prevent or delay the occurrence of type 2 diabetes in people. Alongside, exercise can also ward off the onset of diabetes during pregnancy as staying physically active during the pregnancy reduces the complications of health in the pregnant women which improve the overall quality of their lives.

Exercise for diabetes cure is also useful for it improves the sensitivity of insulin by helping the body cells to make the use of available insulin. Apart from this, indulging in a physical activity also allows the cells to regulate the blood glucose levels in the body. Thus, exercise could be considered to be a good natural cure for diabetes.

Best exercises for diabetes:

Diabetes treatment can be done by performing regular sessions of exercise. Exercise is one of the safest natural remedies for diabetes.

Following types of exercises should be performed for diabetes treatment:

Aerobic Exercise:

Aerobic exercise is also known as cardiovascular exercise and this activity aids the body to make the use of insulin more efficiently and effectively. Apart from this, aerobics also comes with a number of other advantages such as improvement in circulation, stress relief, reduction as to the risk of heart diseases, lower blood pressure, strong bones, improvement in the levels of cholesterol, weight management and many others.

Aerobic Exercise

Hence, you can indulge yourself in a number of different aerobic activities such as swimming, brisk walking, hiking, low-impact aerobic exercise classes, cycling, rowing, skating, playing basketball, tennis, jogging, dancing and many others.

Various doctors recommend thirty minutes of moderate physical aerobic activity on a daily basis or five times a week to ward off diabetes. Also, shorter workouts of aerobics are more beneficial than longer workouts.

How to control diabetes by strength training:

Strength training is considered to be another great exercise for diabetes. The strength training helps to lower down the blood sugar levels and increase the insulin sensitivity. Apart from this, strength training also increases the resting metabolism which makes your bones and muscles stronger and also reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

The strength training such as lifting heavy objects, lifting free weights, resistance bands, weight machines, exercises such as squats, planks, push-ups, sit-ups, etc. make a good diabetes exercise plan. Strength training should be undertaken for a minimum of two times in a week. In addition to this, you can also include aerobic activity to keep yourself fit and healthy.

Stretching exercises:

Stretching exercises

Stretching exercises are considered to be one of the important exercises for diabetes as well as exercise for overall fitness. A proper routine of stretching helps to reduce the risk of injuries that are caused as a result of aerobic exercises or strength training. Stretching exercises also help to increase the levels of flexibility in the body and preventing the soreness of muscles. It is also believed that a proper stretching lowers the levels of stress in the body.

Incidental physical activity:

The incidental physical activities that we perform on a day-to-day basis have a chance of reducing the level of diabetes to a certain extent. These activities also contribute to the improved fitness of a person.

The incidental physical activities such as taking staircase instead of the elevator, vacuuming, walking to the bus station, gardening, washing the car as well as walking around the shopping mall contribute to the lowering of diabetes. These activities are also accounted into natural remedies for diabetes.

Monitoring the levels of blood glucose during exercising:

In order to exercise safely, a number of people with diabetes, specifically with those of type 1 diabetes or the ones who are on the medication of diabetes are required to check the levels of blood glucose before, after and during their exercise for diabetes type 1.

This indicates how well the body is going to respond the exercises which could further allow to ward off the fluctuations of blood sugar which could be dangerous.

Blood sugar levels shall be tested 30 minutes before you begin to exercise. If your blood sugar levels are

  • Lower than 100 mg/dL, your blood sugar is too low to exercise for diabetes.
  • Between 100 and 250 mg/dL is considered to be an optimal range and is safe for most of the people who can begin exercise.
  • 250 mg/dL or higher, your blood sugar is too high to exercise. You are required to carry out a urine test for ketones.

If you are carrying out longer workouts or new activities, your blood sugar levels should be tested in every 30 minutes during exercise for diabetes. Also, you must stop exercising if you fall prey to any of the signs:

  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Confusion
  • Blood Sugar falls below 70mg/dL.

Hypoglycemia and Exercise:

If you are experiencing a low blood sugar level during or after your workout sessions, you must get it treated immediately. The easiest treatment here includes the intake of at least 15-20 grams of carbohydrates that are fast-acting such as sports drink, glucose gel, regular soda or jelly beans.

Know More: Recommended Grams of Sugar Per Day for Diabetics

Blood sugar level during this time should be tested after a period of 20 minutes. You must also repeat the same treatment if they do not return to normal. You must also include the proteins such as peanut butter as well as crackers into the same diet. And you must not resume the exercise until the blood glucose returns to more than 100mg/dL.

If you are facing the problem of hypoglycemia on a regular basis during exercise for diabetes, you must adjust your exercise regimen as well as medications. It is also recommended to eat a small portion of snack before working out. We must never skip meals and perform prolonged workout or strenuous exercise as all these factors can add to the problem of hypoglycemia.

When to consult a doctor?

It is always recommended to consult your doctor before you begin with any new workout program. Your doctor can give you suggestions as to the impact of medications on the levels of blood sugars during the activities of exercise and can fetch you with the target range for blood glucose levels during your sessions of the workout. Your doctor may also suggest you the best time to exercise which shall be based on your individual schedule, medications, and a meal plan.

Furthermore, you can also get your physical check-up done in terms of the blood pressure, heart health as well as other diabetes-related complications. It is also advisable to consult your doctor if you experience hypoglycemia on a regular basis, during or after exercise for diabetes and other workout sessions.

Other considerations:

While exercising for diabetes, you must keep these additional considerations in mind:

Set realistic goals:

You must set your goals before you begin to exercise for diabetes. Start slowly with just 5-10 minutes of exercise daily. You can increase the time, frequency as well as the intensity of exercise as you get used to it.

Take precautions:

You must be very precautious and meticulous about everything related to your body as well as surroundings while working out. Make sure to keep fast-acting carbohydrates in your hand in case of the problem of hypoglycemia. You must also wear a medical alert bracelet in event of an emergency.

Choose your footwear wisely:

A number of diabetic patients often suffer problems in their feet because of nerve damage and poor blood circulation. Thus, you must always choose the footwear which is comfortable and supportive.

Be consistent:

Consistency is the key to all the accomplishments. Thus, you must not leave the exercise for diabetes in the middle and must be consistent enough to acknowledge the results.

Keep a log:

Make the use of an exercise log in order to track all your activities related to exercise along with the levels of blood sugar in your body before and after the exercise.

Stay hydrated:

Drinking water in order to remain hydrated has always been suggested and hence you must drink enough water during as well as after exercise in order to reduce all the risks associated to dehydration with heat stroke as well as erratic blood sugar.

Warm up is important:

In order to begin with any kind of exercise, a proper warm-up is more than important. Thus, a warm-up of 5-10 minutes is recommended before actually starting to work out so that it could prepare your body for upcoming exercises.

Dress appropriately:

An appropriate clothing is very important during your period of exercise as it is going to keep you comfortable throughout your workout sessions. Thus, you must wear breathable clothes in order to perform the moves conveniently.

Breathe normally:

When starting with your training, it is highly recommended not to hold your breath because it can affect your blood pressure and can cause you to feel a little light headed. You must learn to breathe normally. You can see your doctor in terms of medical clearance prior beginning with resistance training as well as strength training.

Save your breath:

You must understand the concept of saving your breath during your sessions of the workout. You must save your breath, a slight of short breath is considered to be normal however labouring in order to catch your breath is strictly not recommended.

Carry a phone:

You must carry your phone while exercising outdoors in order to meet all kinds of emergency medical services and other related issues.

Exercise is considered to be a key tool as to the prevention of the complications of diabetes. Talk to your doctor and get in touch with your instructor. It is the time to fight with your diabetes at the gym.