Diabetes: The Importance of Staying Active
Patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes can benefit from regular exercise and physical activity. In type 2 diabetics, exercise helps control blood sugar levels by increasing the energy demands on the body. In both types, exercise reduces the risk of heart disease and hypertension. Exercise also controls appetite and helps maintain a healthy body weight.
Types of Exercise
Incorporate strength, cardiovascular exercise and flexibility into a single exercise routine. Strength exercises not only make us stronger, they also increase the amount of lean muscle mass and the number of calories we burn at rest. Cardiovascular exercise burns calories, while exercising, and conditions the heart and lungs. Flexibility training keeps the muscles supple and able to move through their full range of motion.
Exercise for Diabetics
Exercise for diabetics is no different than exercise for non-diabetics. However, if the patient has diabetic nerve damage or circulation problems, he will need to be careful to avoid cuts or damage to his feet.
Resistance Exercise: Try resistance bands or body-weight exercises. Resistance bands are light and will not cause injury if dropped on a foot. Body-weight exercises require no special equipment or expensive gym memberships.
Cardiovascular Exercise: Spend at least 30 minutes a day doing a continuous activity and moderate to high intensity. To determine intensity, use a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is sitting still and 10 is unbearably difficult. Work out, continuously between 6 and 8 on this scale. If you don’t like conventional exercise, try dancing, gardening, or housecleaning. When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, the sky is the limit.
Flexibility: Try a few basic yoga moves, after each exercise session. Or try a vinyasa yoga class, which provides both stretching and light-to-moderate cardiovascular exercise. Always stretch after resistance and cardiovascular exercise.