Benefits of Exercise for Diabetics

Every diabetic should have an exercise programme, and use it regularly. Type 1 diabetics can dramatically lower their need for insulin and prevent, or reduce complications when they exercise. For persons with type 2 diabetes, regular exercise can mean the difference between the use of medications and drug-free blood sugar control.
My first choice for exercise is aerobic activity, i.e., anything that gets you moving. The objective is to get you physically fit, so any activity such as walking, dancing, doing household chores, or working in the yard will do. To be effective, your exercise programme should also include stretching and strength training.
Aerobic exercise – such as walking, jogging, dancing, swimming and riding a bicycle – increases your heart rate, works your muscles and accelerates the rate at which you burn fat. Try to do some aerobic activity for about 30 minutes a day, for at least five days a week.
Stretching exercises help keep your joints flexible, and reduce your chances of injury during other activities. Stretching gently for five to ten minutes helps your body warm up and gets it ready for more vigorous exercise.
Strength training helps build strong bones and muscles. This will help you to perform your everyday chores easier. When you build muscles, your body burns more energy, which will help you lose fat. You can do this by lifting light weights at home, or you can join a class to do strength training with weights, or resistance bands.
When you are physically fit, you’ll have the strength, flexibility and endurance needed for your daily activities. For a diabetic, there are additional benefits, as exercise can help you lose weight, which will lower your blood sugar level, since it helps insulin work well. Exercise also keeps blood pressure and cholesterol levels stable; improves circulation; strengthens the heart, muscles and bones, and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. Regular physical activity also keeps your joints flexible and relieves stress.
If you want to lose weight, a combination of regular physical exercise and wise food choices can help you reach and maintain your desired weight.
Don’t view exercise as something you can’t make time to do, as there are many opportunities to be active during the day. Some simple strategies that can help include: walking instead of driving; using the stairs instead of the elevator; gardening; doing household chores; playing with your friends or pets.
Please note, however, that if you are using insulin, or taking oral medications, you need to be careful when exercising. When you exercise, the pancreas normally responds by slowing down, or stopping insulin secretion, because exercise lowers blood glucose levels. If you take insulin, or oral medications, it is possible for the exercise to drive the sugar levels down too low, causing you to feel sick, or even go into a coma. This is known as a hypoglycemic reaction. Diabetics who take insulin must monitor their blood sugar levels closely, and reduce their insulin dosage on the days that they plan to exercise.
Excerpt taken from the book “A patient’s guide to the treatment of diabetes mellitus” written by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell.

JCam_BookEvery diabetic should have an exercise programme, and use it regularly. Type 1 diabetics can dramatically lower their need for insulin and prevent, or reduce complications when they exercise. For persons with type 2 diabetes, regular exercise can mean the difference between the use of medications and drug-free blood sugar control.

My first choice for exercise is aerobic activity, i.e., anything that gets you moving. The objective is to get you physically fit, so any activity such as walking, dancing, doing household chores, or working in the yard will do. To be effective, your exercise programme should also include stretching and strength training.

Aerobic exercise – such as walking, jogging, dancing, swimming and riding a bicycle – increases your heart rate, works your muscles and accelerates the rate at which you burn fat. Try to do some aerobic activity for about 30 minutes a day, for at least five days a week.

Stretching exercises help keep your joints flexible, and reduce your chances of injury during other activities. Stretching gently for five to ten minutes helps your body warm up and gets it ready for more vigorous exercise.

Strength training helps build strong bones and muscles. This will help you to perform your everyday chores easier. When you build muscles, your body burns more energy, which will help you lose fat. You can do this by lifting light weights at home, or you can join a class to do strength training with weights, or resistance bands.

When you are physically fit, you’ll have the strength, flexibility and endurance needed for your daily activities. For a diabetic, there are additional benefits, as exercise can help you lose weight, which will lower your blood sugar level, since it helps insulin work well. Exercise also keeps blood pressure and cholesterol levels stable; improves circulation; strengthens the heart, muscles and bones, and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. Regular physical activity also keeps your joints flexible and relieves stress.

If you want to lose weight, a combination of regular physical exercise and wise food choices can help you reach and maintain your desired weight.

Don’t view exercise as something you can’t make time to do, as there are many opportunities to be active during the day. Some simple strategies that can help include: walking instead of driving; using the stairs instead of the elevator; gardening; doing household chores; playing with your friends or pets.

Please note, however, that if you are using insulin, or taking oral medications, you need to be careful when exercising. When you exercise, the pancreas normally responds by slowing down, or stopping insulin secretion, because exercise lowers blood glucose levels. If you take insulin, or oral medications, it is possible for the exercise to drive the sugar levels down too low, causing you to feel sick, or even go into a coma. This is known as a hypoglycemic reaction. Diabetics who take insulin must monitor their blood sugar levels closely, and reduce their insulin dosage on the days that they plan to exercise.

Excerpt taken from the book “A patient’s guide to the treatment of diabetes mellitus” written by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell.

One Response to “Benefits of Exercise for Diabetics”

  1. Trecia Bent says:

    I am hereby seeking some information as to how I can receive assistance in terms of having my son who was recently diagnosed with diabetes to be a part of your Summer camp.
    At this time he is struggling emotionally, especially since he lost his father to the disease in 2012. I am a student social worker at Jamaica Theological Seminary and is willy to offer volunteer service.

    Trecia Bent

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