Starting an Exercise Routine With Diabetes

Cardio? Pilates? Lifting Weights? Gym memberships? The idea of starting a workout routine can be pretty intimidating. However, exercising offers a host of benefits for anyone who starts, especially for those with type 2 diabetes. A consistent workout routine can help make managing diabetes easier.

Exercising For Diabetes Control

When it comes to diabetes managment, there’s more to it than eating right. You have to get active. Exercise has serious benefits for diabetics. A regular exercise routine can help increase energy levels, control glucose levels, improve heart health, and promote emotional well-being. Unless specified by your doctor, those with diabetes can and should have a regular exercise routine.

How Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar?

When you exercise, you subject your body to an increased workload. This increased workload signals to your body that it needs to adapt, and this adaptation is the key to exercising’s metabolic benefits. But what are those benefits?

First, when you exercise, your body requires more energy. As a result, your body becomes more sensitive to insulin. This increase in insulin sensitivity allows your blood cells to better abosorb the sugar in your bloodstream and use it for energy. Second, exercising stimulates your muscles to abosorb and use sugar as energy, even without insulin. Overtime, the overall affect of these two processes can contribute to lower A1C levels.

How Often Should I Exercise?

For those starting on a new workout regiment, one of the most common questions is “How often should I exercise?”. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has created a recommended and easy to follow guide for creating a workout plan.

  1. Have at least two and a half hours of moderate to vigours intensity physical activity per week (i.e., brisk walking, swimming, water aerobics, or jogging). That’s a little over 20 minutes a day.
  2. At least two to three sessions of resistance training per week. Resistance exercises are those that help to strengthen muscles. These sessions can include things like lifting weights, doing push-ups, or even using resistance bands.
  3. Don’t go more than two days in a row without physical activity.
  4. Incorporate flexibility exercises like yoga or pilates into your weekly routine. These have the added bonus of helping with tight and achy joints or muscles.
  5. Break up your sitting time every 30 minutes during the day. If you have a desk job, this is perfect for getting the blood flowing and adds a burst of energy to your day.