Lifestyle Changes and Diabetes

Lifestyle Changes and Diabetes

Lifestyle Changes and Diabetes

There’s a safe way to get a handle on your diabetes: an exercise and diet plan. Through exercise, you can help your blood sugar stay in your target range. By making better choices in your diet, you can help manage your blood sugar levels and lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.  

Some additional benefits may be: 

  • Lowering your body fat 
  • Achieving and maintaining your blood sugar in the range that your doctor recommends 
  • Improving your circulation 
  • Lowering your risk for heart disease 


Before starting any kind of physical activity, talk to your doctor. They can help make sure that you exercise safely.  

Start your exercise program slowly. That way, your body will get used to activity without straining or hurting yourself. Here are a few other tips: 

  • Try to exercise on the same days at the same times. Slow and steady wins the race. 
  • Plan how long and how often you're going to work out, and what you'll be doing. Based on your doctor's guidance, your choices can be anything from a walk around the block once a day to hitting the swimming pool three or four days a week. 

A workout buddy may make a workout more fun, so you are more likely to keep going. 

You can find great exercise resources including information about SilverSneakers® Fitness Program in Stay Active and Healthy with Workout to Go 


Your health care team can also help you make the right changes to your diet. Your diabetic educator or dietitian can tell you how many calories you need per day and from which food groups those calories should come from. If you don't already keep one, they may ask you to start a meal log so there's a good outline of what you're really taking in.  

So, what should you eat? The best diet for people with diabetes is like that for most people: a balanced mix of fruits, veggies, grains, protein, and very little refined sugar. Here's a quick review:  

  • Fiber – Fiber is the part of plant foods that your body cannot break down or absorb. There are two types. Soluble dissolves and can help lower cholesterol and sugar levels. Insoluble helps move digested food through the system. High fiber foods include vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, whole-wheat flour and wheat bran. 
  • Carbohydrates – Carbs help control your blood sugar levels. Like almost everything else, there are good carbs and bad carbs. The good ones are fruits, vegetables and grains. The bad ones are sweets and drinks with added sugar. 
  • Fish – Fresh fish like tuna or halibut often have less saturated fat and cholesterol than beef or chicken. In addition, fish like tuna, sardines and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help the heart. 

Take the guess work out of what to eat using tips, recipes and sample meals from the American Diabetes Association  . 

While there are no magic bullets for managing diabetes, exercise and diet can help.  

Sources: Diabetes Overview  National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases 

SilverSneakers® is a wellness program owned and operated by Tivity Health, Inc., an independent company. Tivity Health and SilverSneakers®   are registered trademarks or trademarks of Tivity Health, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries.  

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