Diabetes and Fitness
Knowing that you have to exercise and how to actually do it are two different things.
The type, level and duration of physical activity that you undertake as a diabetic will depend on what is suitable for you, something you should agree with your doctor or healthcare team.
We are developing our Fitness and Exercise area to encompass the information any diabetic would want to know about sports, fitness and exercise in relation to diabetes.
Fitness and Exercise Guides
The fitness and exercise guides look at keeping active, how sports can affect your blood sugar and how to prevent hypoglycemia during physical activity.
Diabetes and exercise
People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise regularly.
Diabetes and at the gym
Gyms are ideal settings for people who want to lead an active lifestyle.
Sports and keeping fit
Having diabetes needn’t be a barrier to actively enjoying sports and exercise.
Weight Loss Guides
The weight loss section deals with losing weight through diet, exercise, keeping your motivation and more serious measures such as surgery and pills.
What is the best kind of physical activity to help prevent or manage diabetes?
The best type of physical activity will depend on your individual situation.
Generally, aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility training should be combined to form a comprehensive exercise routine.
Keeping fit helps our bodies to stay in good shape and has a number of health benefits.
A research study from 2010, by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, found that a combination of strength and aerobic activity can be effective in weight management as well as for blood sugar control.
Aerobic exercises are activities that get the heart pumping faster and get us breathing harder. Aerobic exercises are usually of moderate intensity over a lengthy period of time. Examples include:
- Moderate intensity dancing
- Brisk walking
Anaerobic exercise is higher in intensity and a shorter duration than aerobic exercise. Anaerobic exercises are activities that force the body’s muscles to work without oxygen.
When performing anaerobic exercise, your muscles will tire relatively quickly and your breathing will become intense. Anaerobic exercises include strength training and rapid bursts of activity. Examples include:
- Weight lifting
- Push ups and pull ups
- Climbing steep hills or flights of steps
Aerobic and anaerobic exercise both help the body to burn calories. Aerobic activity tends to burn more calories in the short term, however, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn.
This is why a combination of moderate and high intensity exercise can be beneficial. Aerobic and anaerobic exercise help to increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
By increasing our insulin sensitivity, we can help our body to better lose weight and control blood sugar levels.
What is aerobic exercise and how can it help diabetes?
Aerobic exercise increases how fast your heart beats, raises your breathing rates, and works your muscles out. For the average person trying to lose weight, approximately 30 minutes per day, around five days a week should yield clear results.
However, if you are starting out on exercise and haven’t been active, much less than that can make a real difference.
Aerobic exercise for diabetics include things like:
- Taking a walk
What is strength training and how can it help diabetes?
Strength training is particularly effective for building strong bones and muscles.
Muscle burns calories, even when it is at rest, and this can be very effective in terms of staving off or better managing diabetes.
Strength training for diabetes mellitus includes things like weight lifting, either at home or at the gym.
What is flexibility training and how can it help diabetes?
Flexibility training, usually called stretching, can make a real difference to your diabetes. It keeps your joints flexible and lowers the risk of injury.
Stretching before and after aerobic exercise or strength training helps your body warm up and down.
Seize the moment
As well as doing consistent, suitable exercise, being active throughout the whole day can help to burn calories. This means seizing the moment and burning as many calories as possible.
For instance, using a bike or walking rather than driving, doing garden or household chores, and setting yourself small physical challenges can all be helpful.