Exercise and Diabetes, The Missing Link You Need to Know

Exercise and Diabetes

Do you think exercise is not for people with diabetes?? The answer is NO. The American College of Sports Medicine and American Diabetes Association recommend that patients with type 2 diabetes participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly.

It also recommends no more than 2 consecutive days without physical activity!

  • Studies have found that diabetic women who exercised at least four hours a week had a 40% lower risk of developing heart disease than those who didn’t exercise.
  • Studies have also shown that exercise has reduced HbA1c values by 0.7 percentage points for diabetic patients.

We can say exercise should be an integral part of the treatment plan for a diabetic person. Exercise helps diabetics in following manner:

  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Reduce cardiovascular risk factor
  • Control weight
  • Exercise also helps your pancreas to function better and pump more insulin

Two types of physical activity are most important for managing type-2 diabetes: aerobic exercise and strength training.

Aerobic Exercise Walking, running, cycling – helps your body use insulin better. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week or a total of 150 minutes per week.

Exercise to Control Diabetes

Strength Training Makes your body more sensitive to insulin and can lower blood glucose by increasing your muscle mass. Muscles are an important storehouse of glucose, hence having more muscles help in lowering blood glucose. We recommend doing some type of strength training at least 2 times per week in addition to aerobic activity.

Below are examples of strength training activities:

  • Weight machines or free weights at the gym
  • Yoga asanas like Aardha Chaturanga Dandasana, Navasana, Utkatasana etc.
  • Calisthenics or exercises that use your own body weight to work your muscles (examples are pushups, sit ups, squats, lunges, wall-sits and planks)

Precautions

Frequent blood glucose monitoring before, during & after exercise helps individuals identify their response to physical activities. To meet their individual needs, patients must modify their carbohydrate ingestion.

Hypoglycemia can occur if a person who is taking blood sugar lowering medication has:
Eaten too little carbohydrate relative to the exercise or
Taken too much medication relative to the exercise

Those who do not take diabetes medication do not need to take these precautions. Drink plenty of water before, during and after exercise to stay well-hydrated.

Pre-workout Meal

Check your blood sugar. If your reading is over 250mg/dl, it’s important to get your sugar levels under control before starting any major exercise. Consult with your doctor or dietician.

If your reading is between 100 and 250 mg/dl and you’ve already eaten at least once that day, you probably don’t need to eat anything. If it is lower than 100 mg/dl, then grab a snack with 15-30 grams of healthy carbs.

You could take the following snacks:

  • 1 fresh fruit
  • 1 slice of bread slice or Pulka or Cheela
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal

Post Workout Meal

If blood glucose is less than 100 mg/dl, have a snack immediately. Otherwise, the next scheduled meal or snack can be between 30 minutes to 2 hours. And it should be around 15 gms of carbs and 8 gms of protein.

You have almost completed the course. Amazing job. I am so proud of you. If you have reached so far, it shows your commitment to fight the disease. And this commitment will go a long way in defeating the disease. See you in the last session.

Conclusion

Exercise is an integral part of one’s path towards reversing diabetes. A pre and post workout meal is necessary to help keep your body working in optimal condition. Stay hydrated before, during and after workouts. Include aerobic and strength training in your workout.

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