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Diabetes management is about more than food and medication. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar for energy, helping to reduce your glucose level without added insulin. A study from Mayo Clinic found that regular exercise also helps your body use insulin more effectively.
Exercise, together with your diet and medication, can help keep your levels in line and lead to a healthier life.
Talk to Your Doctor About an Exercise Plan
Before you begin any exercise plan, it’s important to talk to your doctor to determine the right type and amount of exercise that’s right for you. If you haven’t been exercising much, jumping right back into it might not be a good idea. Your doctor can check your overall health and help you get back into the routine slowly, at a pace that’s best for you.
Keep an Exercise Schedule
Once you get the go ahead from your doctor, an important part of an effective exercise routine is to make it just that – routine. You set routines and schedules for the other important things in your life. Most people go to work around the same time, take the same routes and eat at roughly the same times each day. Why should exercise be any different? Find a time that you know will work every day and stick to it. This type of consistency will help exercise become a habit that is easy to stick to and hard to break.
The American Diabetes Association recommends two types of exercise to promote a healthy lifestyle. Aerobic exercise, like walking, jogging, running, and swimming “makes your heart and bones strong, relieves stress, improves blood circulation, and reduces your risk for heart disease by lowering blood glucose and blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.”
Aerobic exercise doesn’t mean running a marathon. There are many ways to get up and moving each day that may be right for you. The National Diabetes Education Program has a few suggestions:
If approved by your doctor, 30 minutes a day is a good target for your aerobic exercise routine.
Strength training is also recommended, as it helps build and maintain strong muscles and bones, makes your body more sensitive to insulin and can lower your blood sugar. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you are resting, so increasing your overall muscle mass helps keep you leaner and healthier. Strength training doesn’t necessarily mean power lifting at the gym. In fact, you don’t need weights at all to get started. Here are few things you can try, as suggested by the SilverSneakers® program :
These tips, along with proper eating and medication, can be helpful in managing your diabetes and living a healthier life.
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Last Updated 10012018Y0096_WEB_IL_CONNECT19_C