Exercise is so important for people with diabetes that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. The American Diabetes Association recommends that you never miss more than two days of aerobic exercise in a row.
If you have diabetes, exercise offers surprising benefits. Not only does it lower your stress levels, it may also lower your blood sugar level and may even reduce your insulin requirements. Trying to make a habit of doing exercises when diagnosed with diabetes on a regular basis will give you the maximum benefits helping you manage your diabetes.
Walking is the most popular exercise and highly recommended for people with diabetes. It can be done by almost anyone and anywhere. Spending 30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week is a great way to increase your physical activity. It can even be broken down into 10 minute sessions three times a day.
Tai Chi is a Chinese form of exercise which uses slow, smooth body movements to relax the mind and body. Studies have shown that those who complete tai chi sessions show significant improvement in blood sugar control. They also report increased vitality, energy and mental health.
Yoga is a traditional form of exercise that incorporates fluid movements that build flexibility, strength and balance. It’s helpful for people with a variety of chronic conditions, including diabetes. It lowers stress and improves nerve function, which leads to an increased state of mental health and wellness. According to the ADA, yoga may improve blood glucose levels due to improved muscle mass.
Dancing is not only great for your body. The mental work to remember dance steps and sequences actually boosts brain power and improves memory. For those with diabetes, it is a fun and exciting way to increase physical activity, promote weight loss, improve flexibility, lower blood sugar and reduce stress. Chair dancing, which incorporates the use of a chair to support people with limited physical abilities, makes dancing an option for many people. In just 30 minutes, a 150-pound adult can burn up to 150 calories.
Swimming stretches and relaxes your muscles and doesn’t put pressure on your joints, which is great for people with diabetes. For those with diabetes or at risk for developing diabetes, studies show it improves cholesterol levels, burns calories and lowers stress levels. To get the most benefit from swimming, we recommend that you swim at least three times a week for at least ten minutes and gradually increase the length of the workout.
Before starting an exercise program, talk to your doctor to be sure the exercise you choose is safe and appropriate for your type of diabetes. Remember to start slowly, especially if you have not been physically active for a while.