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Diabetes and Exercise: Why It’s Important to Stay Fit

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Diabetes and Exercise: Why It’s Important to Stay Fit

If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing certain health conditions, including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and nerve problems. By following your doctor's recommendations for keeping your blood glucose levels under control, you can reduce your risk of developing these complications.

Researchers have found that people who exercise regularly have:

Lower blood glucose levels
Lower blood pressure
Better cholesterol levels
Improved ability to use insulin
Decreased risk of stroke
Decreased risk of heart disease
Stronger bones
Less chance of falling
Easier weight loss
Less body fat
More energy
Reduced stress levels
In addition, if you use insulin to treat your diabetes, exercise can be part of the daily schedule that you and your diabetes health care team develop to control your blood glucose levels.

Diabetes and Exercise: Getting Started

Talk with your diabetes health care team before you begin an exercise program. They can help you design an exercise program that is safe and effective for you. Make sure to ask about any limitations. If you have heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems, or foot problems, there may be some physical activities that you should not do.

To get started with an exercise program:

Find physical activities you like. Choose activities that you enjoy doing and that are convenient. Try new activities, such as walking, dancing, swimming, or bicycling, until you find one you like.
Schedule your workouts. Make exercise part of your schedule, just like work and doctor appointments. Aim to work out for at least half an hour on most or all days of the week.
Slowly increase your time and intensity. Don't start out doing too much, or you may get burned out. Begin with just a few minutes, and add a little time, distance, or intensity to your workouts each week.
Find an exercise partner. Ask a friend or neighbor to join you in your exercise plan. For many people, having a person who is counting on you will make you less likely to skip a workout.
Keep a workout journal. Each time you exercise, write down what you did and what your blood glucose levels were. That way you can keep track of your progress and see how activity affects your diabetes control.

By Krisha McCoy, MS | Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

I myself found, that adding exercise daily (Walking with Leslie Sansone) has really helped me with added energy, keeping my joints lubricated, and of course hand in hand with a clean healthy eating program, that I have been more successful, then I had been on any plan I had been on before. Actually never added exercise, because I believed that you gained muscle weight that made the scale not budge. That's not true. First of all I ditched the scale, and paid attention to the way my clothes fit, and 46 lbs later it all paid off.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great summary and commentary in the last paragraph.
    1366 days ago
    good tips! emoticon
    1366 days ago
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