Virtually everyone—including people with diabetes—can benefit from being active rather than sedentary. In fact, exercise can have the same positive impact for people with type 2 diabetes as some drug treatments.
If you haven’t exercised regularly for a long time, there are a couple of easy strategies to employ to get you started. Begin a walking routine. Even a five- to 10-minute walk is a great way to begin, with the ultimate goal of 30 to 45 minutes of quick walking, five days a week. Be more active throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off one stop early when you commute or walk in place during TV commercials. Of course, you should always consult your physician before beginning a workout regimen.
Eventually, adding flexibility, balance and strength-training exercises would be ideal. Strength training further helps control blood sugar levels, and muscle strength can contribute to joint-pain relief, decreased fracture risk and easier movement. Better flexibility and balance contribute to reducing the risk of falls. And, as an added bonus, you’ll find that exercise almost always improves your mood.
Your diabetes brings a few caveats when exercising, however. We would recommend the following:
- Wear moisture-wicking socks and well-fitting athletic shoes.
- Examine your feet pre- and post-workout for blisters or sores you may not feel.
- Check your blood sugar before and after exercise, and carry a source of sugar (such as several hard candies) with you during your workout in case your blood sugar level drops.
- Drink water before, during and after exercise.
- Exercise at the same time each day (if possible), which further helps manage blood sugar.
- Wear “alert jewelry” that informs people about your diabetes.
If you are looking to boost your fitness and control your diabetes through exercise, call us for an appointment. We can work with you and your physician to custom design an exercise program that takes into account your current fitness level and your diabetes.