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Exercise Safely with Type 2 Diabetes

By Aarti Patel Email By Aarti Patel
November 2011
Exercise Safely with Type 2 Diabetes Even though exercise is highly recommended for the management of type 2 diabetes and many diabetics are able to exercise safely, exercising with diabetes can be challenging for some without the proper knowledge and information. Exercise not only lowers glucose levels in diabetics but also helps with weight management. Strength training workouts such as lifting weights transports glucose which is in the blood to the working muscles where it is used as the main fuel, thereby lowering excess glucose levels in the blood. The extra lean muscle which is built by strength training provides more storage space for glucose and improves overall glucose processing. Additionally, aerobic exercise lowers triglycerides and cholesterol levels, helps with weight management, lowers glucose levels in the blood, and maintains heart health.

Here are some things you should keep in mind when exercising with diabetes. Always get your doctor’s approval first before you begin any type of exercise. If you have type 2 diabetes, your exercise regimen should include low to moderate cardiovascular exercise for 5-6 days of the week for about 20 to up to 45 minutes each session and strength training exercises 2 to 3 days a week for about 30 minutes. Strength training exercises should be performed before cardiovascular exercise and can be done on the same day. Stretching and yoga exercises are supplemental to this workout. Beginners should aim for 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise initially and then gradually build it up. Good choices are walking, aerobics, elliptical, cycling, and swimming. For diabetics, regular cardiovascular exercise on most days of the week is highly recommended. Also, exercising at the same time each day is beneficial. For more information and some strength training exercises that can be performed safely at home, please visit http://aartifitness.com/archives/188.

Always monitor your glucose level before and after exercise and keep a daily log of your numbers. This log is valuable information to present to your doctor at your appointments. Consult your doctor about what is a safe range of blood sugar level for you to exercise. Wear an ID bracelet during exercise and if you can, exercise with a friend or partner. Good quality athletic shoes and socks are very important for diabetics when exercising to prevent corns, blisters, etc., which could cause future problems. Shoes should have thick soles to provide support and balance and to avoid falls. Diabetics should never walk in sandals, flip flops, or sneakers made for leisure wear.

If you are a type 2 diabetic or have a family history of diabetes, remember that diabetes is a lifestyle disease and that by exercising consistently and regularly, you can either lower your risk of getting diabetes and/or control and manage your blood glucose level. Let not the fear of exercising, making excuses, and the lack of knowledge prevent you from beginning an exercise program if you are a diabetic or have a family history. On a personal note, I too have a strong family history of diabetes. Ten years ago, it was the fear of getting diabetes that motivated me to begin exercising and start losing weight. I feel certain to say that had I not made lifestyle changes ten years ago, and maintained them, I would most definitely be a diabetic today. November is National Diabetes Month. I urge you to manage and control your lifestyle so that this disease doesn’t end up controlling you!

The information in this article is not considered as professional fitness or medical advice. Please consult with your health care provider to obtain specific information as it relates to you. Always consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

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