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Getting Active with Diabetes

It is not as hard as you might think to be more active, and even more so if you have diabetes. Physical activity is very important for people with diabetes!

If you have diabetes, being active makes your body more sensitive to insulin (the hormone that allows cells in your body to use blood sugar for energy), which helps manage your diabetes. Physical activity also helps control blood sugar levels and lowers your risk of heart disease and nerve damage.

Some additional benefits include: maintaining a healthy weight, feeling happier, sleeping better, improving your memory, controlling your blood pressure and lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

The goal is to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. One way to do this is to try to fit in at least 20 to 25 minutes of activity every day. Also, on 2 or more days a week, include activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).

Examples of moderate-intensity physical activities include walking briskly, doing housework, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming, bicycling, and playing sports. These activities work your large muscles, increase your heart rate, and make you breathe harder, which are important goals for fitness. Stretching helps to make you flexible and prevent soreness after being physically active. Find out more by reading tips for being active with diabetes.

There are several ways to get started. First, find something you like. Start small, and find a partner. Pick a goal and schedule it in. The more regular activity you do, the quicker it will become a habit. Think of ways to link activity to daily life.

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