Exercise is fundamental to diabetes management. Most doctors will immediately green-light some exercise regimens. It doesn’t matter if you have Type 1 or Type 2. However, most of us haven’t stopped to consider why this may be the case. Exercise might help manage your diabetes for many reasons, and we’ll go through some of the reasons below.
Helps You Manage Your Insulin Sensitivity
Exercise is fundamental to managing diabetes, so let’s dive into why and define some things. Both types of diabetes are marked by the body’s inability to produce or respond to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Glucose builds up, and you get a high reading when measuring blood sugar levels. Fortunately, exercise improves insulin sensitivity. When your body produces insulin or you inject it, the fat and muscle cells can use the sugar in your blood during exercise.
Controls Blood Sugar Levels
Exercise can help lower blood sugar in the short and long term. When muscles contract during rigorous exercise, your cells use glucose for energy, regardless of whether there’s insulin in your system or not. Regular activity can permanently lower your A1C, which is a measure of blood sugar levels over the course of three months. Now that you know how exercise helps you manage diabetes, what do you do about it?
What Should You Do Beforehand?
Now that you know how exercise can help you manage your diabetes, it might be tempting to start working out every day. However, there are a few things you need to do in preparation before jumping in. First, see your doctor and get an exercise plan. Instead of throwing you in the deep end and making you exercise for hours five times a week, they’ll help you create a fitness plan for your needs.
After devising this plan, you need to get the right supplies. Ensure you get at least one pair of women’s or men’s diabetic shoes. Make sure those shoes have comfortable insoles and get a pair of diabetic socks to match.
So, you know why managing diabetes is important. You’ve gone to your doctor, created a fitness plan, and acquired the right tools. Which exercises should you do? Your doctor should have gone over some good ones for you, but if they didn’t, we’ll share some general principles to keep in mind.
We don’t recommend high-impact exercise. This means running or anything involving jumping—high-impact exercises are tough on your legs and feet. People with diabetes bruise and wound easily, and you don’t want to hurt yourself accidentally. Walking and swimming are excellent forms of exercise. They’re low impact but intense enough to raise your heart rate while lowering your blood sugar. Ultimately, exercise can help manage your diabetes in countless ways, and you can make exercise work for you. This information will help you as you continue your journey to conquer diabetes.