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How Regular Exercise can Help with Diabetes

Susan Patterson
January 24th, 2013
Updated 01/24/2013 at 3:16 am
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fitnessclass 265x165 How Regular Exercise can Help with DiabetesConsistent exercise has a plethora of physical, mental and emotional benefits. Besides the fact that people just feel better when they exercise, many serious health conditions can be dramatically improved or reversed when regular exercise is paired with a healthy diet. People who exercise regularly are expected to live longer and are better able to control their weight and blood pressure which reduces their risk of stroke, cancer and heart attack. Further, exercise also helps battle diabetes.

Preventing Diabetes with Exercise

According to research conducted with diabetic Hispanic men and women, a 4-month strength training program resulted in improved blood sugar control. Strength training is not alone in its positive impact on diabetes. Anaerobic and aerobic exercise have caused dramatic improvements in both pre diabetes and diabetes. Brisk walking, jogging, swimming and cycling are popular ways to keep weight and blood sugar in check among diabetics. Any activity that gets your heart pumping is worthwhile.

It is also true, however, that too much of a good thing can also cause blood sugar to rise. Certain types of extremely vigorous, long-lasting or competitive exercise may cause a rise in blood sugar. This is a result of the liver releasing extra glucose into the blood in response to a surge of adrenaline. Health professionals suggest exercising no more than 45 minutes per session.

If you are pre-diabetic or diabetic, it is always wise to start an exercise program slowly, warm up appropriately, and monitor your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is above 250 mg/dL  and you are ketones positive,  it is best to wait for the level to drop. If you blood sugar is above 300 mg/dL, but you are not ketones positive exercise with caution. It is important to know what your blood sugar  is so that you do not but additional stress on the body. Don’t forget to eat plenty of healthy food and drink pure, filtered water before and after each exercise session.

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  • Linda

    Regular exercise is important for everyone—but it is especially important if you have diabetes. How exercise can help– aerobic exercise increases insulin sensitivity and, along with proper nutrition, helps restore normal glucose metabolism by decreasing body fat. Strength training (a.k.a. resistance or weight training) also decreases body fat by raising the metabolism. It's main benefit, however, is increasing glucose uptake by the muscles and enhancing the ability to store glucose. Exercise can mean the difference between "medical management" and "lifestyle management" of Type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise helps control the amount of sugar in the blood and increases levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. It also burns excess calories and fat to help you achieve optimal weight. Keeping a healthy weight is an important part of taking care of your diabetes. Select fitness activities that are right for you—estimate the degree that you are over- or underweight; see which activities help you burn the most calories. It is important to work with your health care provider to create an exercise program that is right for you.
    Linda — VLCNW Student