How does exercise help diabetes?
Exercise is a great way to help control weight and it also lowers the blood sugar level. It also lowers a person’s risk of heart disease – a condition that is very common in people who have diabetes.
Exercise can also help you feel better about yourself and increase your overall health.
What kind of exercises to be done?
There are no specific exercises for one to do. Choose any cardio exercise (walking, running, cycling, aerobics, skating, warm-ups and cool-downs, tennis, etc.) – anything that increases the heart rate.
Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and keeps the exerciser’s muscles warm. Strength training builds stamina, while improving both joints and muscles. Warm-ups and cool-downs are essential for the safety of the exerciser.
No matter what kind of exercise one does, make sure to warm up before starting, and cool down when done. To warm up, spend 5 to 10 minutes doing a low-intensity exercise such as walking.
Then gently stretch for another five to ten minutes. Repeat these steps after exercising to cool down.
When you start an exercise program, go slowly. Gradually increase the intensity and length of the workout as one gradually gets more fit.
Consult a doctor about what kind of exercise is right for you, depending on whether one has any other health problems.
1. Aerobic exercise –
Aerobic exercise helps increase heart rate, as well as breathing rate. This makes one breathe more deeply and also makes the heart work harder. It is best to aim for a total of about 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. Here are some examples of aerobic exercises:
· Take a brisk walk either outside or on a treadmill
· Dance classes
· Tennis or badminton
· Indoor stationary bicycle
2. Strength training –
Strength training, done several times a week, helps build strong bones and muscles. Some ways to do it:
· Join a gym to do strength training with weights.
· Lift light weights at home
3. Flexibility exercises –
Flexibility exercises, also called stretching, helps keep joints flexible and reduces the chances of injury during other activities. Gentle stretching for 5 to 10 minutes helps the body to warm up, as well as get ready for aerobic activities.
4. Be on the move throughout the day –
Being active helps burns calories. The more you move around, the more energy one will have.
« Walk instead of driving whenever possible.
« Take the stairs instead of the elevator
« Work in the garden or do some housecleaning every day
« Walk to the market; park your car ½ kilometer before the market.
Are there any risks associated with exercising for people with diabetes?
There are some mild risks, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. So, its necessary to moderately exercise daily the right way.
Exercise changes the way in which the body reacts to insulin. Regular and strenuous exercise makes the body more sensitive to insulin, and thus, the blood sugar level may suddenly get too low after exercising.
Therefore, it is important to check the blood sugar level before and after exercising, and follow the doctor’s advice as suggested for low blood sugar.
If the blood sugar level is too low or too high right before one starts exercising, it is better to wait until the level improves, and normalizes.
It is also important to keep a check on blood sugar level if exercising in extreme hot or cold conditions, because temperature affects how the body absorbs insulin.
Should one drink plenty of fluids during exercising?
Yes. While exercising, our body uses more fluid to keep the body temperature cool. Therefore, by the time one feels thirsty, he may already be getting dehydrated. Dehydration can seriously affect the blood sugar level in the body.
Drink plenty of fluids, water before, during and after exercise.
What safety tips to follow while exercising?
Exercise can affect and lower the blood sugar level, so pay attention to possible warning signs during workout such as:
· Sudden change in heartbeat
· if one starts sweating more
· feels shaky, anxious or hungry
· feeling weak or dizzy
If you feel this way, stop exercising and check out on a doctor. It might be hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. It is normally recommended to keep candy, glucose biscuits or juice nearby to treat hypoglycemia.
Exercise tips for people with diabetes:
· Talk to the doctor about the right exercise for you.
· Check blood sugar level before and after exercising.
· Wear the proper shoes and socks, so as to avoid infection and blisters.
· Drink plenty of fluid before, during and after exercising.
· Warm up before exercising and cool down afterward.
· Have some juice handy in case blood sugar level drops too low.
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