Exercise and Diabetes

Exercise for life

Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle for everyone, and it’s especially important for people with diabetes. Exercise does not necessarily mean running a marathon or bench-pressing 300 pounds. The goal is to get active and stay active by doing things you enjoy, from gardening to playing tennis to walking with friends. Benefits of exercise include:  lower blood glucose levels, better insulin use, weight loss and retention, lower blood pressure, lower stress levels, and lower risk of heart attack.

At least 30 minutes of exercise a day is recommended. If you cannot do 30 minutes all at once, break it up into 2 or 3 “mini” sessions. Always start with a 5 minute stretching warm-up and end with a 5-10 minute cool-down.

There are three types of exercise:
Aerobic exercise

• The best type of exercise for your heart and lungs
• Activities such as; walking, swimming, biking, dancing, and water aerobics

Strength training exercise

• Builds muscle and helps you lose weight easier
• Helps maintain bone density
• Lifting weights

Stretching exercise

• This type helps prevent injury and keeps you flexible

Getting start on an exercise program

Before starting an exercise program, consult with your doctor.  Try to combine all three types of exercise, stretching, strength, and aerobics into your program.  Start slowly.  Set goals.  Keep an exercise log.  Do not let yourself get discouraged.  If you miss some days, get back into your routine as soon as possible.

Some helpful tips to staying motivated are:

• Exercise with a friend
• Join an exercise class
• Work out at a gym
• Use a pedometer to see how far you walk
• Reward yourself when you meet certain goals