If you have diabetes, exercise offers surprising benefits. Not only does it lower your stress levels, it may also lower your blood sugar level and may even reduce your insulin requirements.
Try to make a habit of doing the following exercises on a regular basis. They’ll give you the maximum benefits to help you manage your diabetes, and are relatively easy to fit in each day.
- Walking — Because anyone can do it almost anywhere, walking is the most popular exercise and highly recommended for people with diabetes. Spending 30 minutes of brisk walking, five times each week is a great way to increase your physical activity. You can even break this 30 minutes down into 10-minute sessions three times a day.
- Tai Chi —This Chinese form of exercise uses slow, smooth body movements to relax the mind and body. Those who complete tai chi sessions show significant improvement in blood sugar control. They also report increased vitality, energy and mental health.
- Yoga — A traditional form of exercise, yoga incorporates fluid movements that build flexibility, strength and balance. It’s helpful for people with a variety of chronic conditions, including diabetes. It lowers stress and improves nerve function, which leads to an increased state of mental health and wellness.
- Dancing — Dancing is not only great for your body. The mental work to remember dance steps and sequences actually boosts brain power and improves memory. For those with diabetes, it is a fun and exciting way to increase physical activity, promote weight loss, improve flexibility, lower blood sugar and reduce stress. Chair dancing, which incorporates the use of a chair to support people with limited physical abilities, makes dancing an option for many people.
- Swimming — Swimming stretches and relaxes your muscles and doesn’t put pressure on your joints, which is great for people with diabetes. For those with diabetes or at risk for developing diabetes, improves cholesterol levels, burns calories and lowers stress levels. To get the most benefit from swimming, swim at least three times a week for at least ten minutes and gradually increase the length of the workout. Lastly, let the lifeguard know that you have diabetes before you get in the pool.
Before starting an exercise program, talk to your doctor to be sure the exercise you choose is safe and appropriate for your type of diabetes. Remember to start slowly, especially if you have not been physically active for a while. Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
- Always carry a cell phone.
- Avoid exercising in extremely cold or hot weathers
- Wear proper shoes and socks to protect your feet.
- As with any exercise, always listen to your body. If you become short of breath, dizzy or lightheaded, stop exercising. Report to your doctor immediately