What Is The Importance Of Exercise For Those With Diabetes?

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Physical activity is very important for people who are living with diabetes. The great news is that it’s not as challenging as you might think to be more active. If you are suffering from diabetes, being active makes your body more sensitive to insulin (which is the hormone that allows cells in your body to utilise blood sugar for energy), which assists with managing your diabetes. Also, physical activity helps to control blood sugar levels and lowers your risk of heart disease as well as nerve damage.

Some additional benefits of exercise for people suffering from diabetes include the following:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight,
  • Losing weight, if needed,
  • Feeling happier,
  • Sleeping better,
  • Improving your memory,
  • Controlling your blood pressure, and
  • Lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

What Kinds of Exercise Should You Do?

There are three main types of exercises — aerobic, strength training as well as flexibility work. You should ideally aim to have a good mixture of all three.

 Aerobic Exercises

Aim to get at least 30 minutes of cardio (aerobic) exercise most days of the week. If the thought of finding 30 minutes too difficult, you can break up the exercise into shorter periods, say 10 minutes here and there, aiming for a minimum of 30 minutes at the end of the day.

Aerobic exercises include the following:

  • Tennis,
  • Dancing and Zumba,
  • Jogging/Running,
  • Walking,
  • Basketball,
  • Swimming, and
  • Biking

Strength Training

Once you have been able to integrate aerobic activity into your days, then you will be able to start to add in some resistance training.

Strength training assists you with achieving lean and efficient muscles. These resistance-type exercises, in addition to walking or jogging, also support strong and healthy bones. Creating more muscle in place of fat is particularly beneficial when you have type 2 diabetes as muscles use the most glucose. So, the more you utilise your muscles, the more effective you will be at controlling your blood glucose level.

Weight training is one of the most utilised strength-building techniques, although you are able also utilise your own body weight in order to build up strength—think of pull-ups as well as planks.

When you’re beginning a weight training programme, make sure that you know how to use all the equipment. Ask the staff at your gym about how you should use the weights properly or consider engaging with a personal trainer so that you can learn the best exercises for you.

Lifting weights for between 20 and 30 minutes, two or three times a week, is enough to get the full advantages of strength training.

Flexibility Training

With flexibility training, you’ll boost how well your muscles and joints work. Stretching before and after exercise (particularly after exercise) reduces muscle soreness and actually relaxes your muscles.

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