It is estimated that 29 million people are living with diabetes or prediabetes in the United States. Diabetes is a serious condition but it doesn’t have to be a debilitating one. Figuring out how to control diabetes in order to keep living a healthy life means constant management of your diet, exercise and lifestyle choices.
Decisions such as what you eat, how you manage your medication and how often you visit your physician will all have a bearing on your condition. Most physicians recommend exercise to reduce diabetes risk, both for those who have already been diagnosed and those who have prediabetes. Exercise for diabetes control may seem scary at first, but once you start to integrate some activity into your daily routine and see the benefits of the results, you won’t want to go back.
The Benefits of Exercise For Diabetes Control
If your doctor has recommended exercise to reduce diabetes risk, you should know that the benefits go beyond slimming down and dropping a pants size (or two). Exercise can actually help you figure out how to control diabetes by reducing a lot of the risk factors associated with the disease, including:
Reducing Your Blood Glucose. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) identifies diabetes as a condition where a dangerously high level of blood glucose or blood sugar threatens the body’s equilibrium. Therefore, one of the most important factors in reducing the health risks associated with diabetes—which include heart and renal disease—is finding ways to keep blood sugar levels in check. According to WebMD, regular exercise helps the body to consume glucose at 20 times the rate of a body at rest. This reduces those dangerous levels of blood sugar. In other words, exercise for diabetes control actually works.
Lowering Your Risk of Obesity. Chronic obesity is often a root cause of diabetes. Obesity substantially raises the health risks that are already associated with the disease, which is why exercise is such an important part of the strategy for treating both. WebMD also points out that reducing excess fat actually improves the body’s ability to use insulin., which means that you’ll feel more energetic and naturally start to figure out how to control diabetes in conjunction with a larger treatment plan.
Eliminating Risk Factors. Other risk factors associated with diabetes include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, circulatory difficulties and an elevated risk of heart disease or stroke. A committed exercise routine has been shown to reduce one’s risk in all of these categories. This means that with regular exercise, you have a chance to limit the negative health consequences related to your condition.
Exercise Tips for Diabetics
Before you jump into a routine, you may want to visit your physician. If you’re introducing exercise to reduce diabetes risk, consider a health checkup and a consultation, especially if you are developing a fitness routine for the first time (or for the first time in a while). This will give you a chance to discuss some of your limitations, to find a balance between exertion and safety, and to gain some professional advice on the exercise strategy that might be best for you.
Once you get the green light from a physician, here are some exercise tips that will also help you figure out how to control diabetes:
Check Your Levels. Part of managing your diabetes is regularly monitoring your blood sugar levels. This is especially true when you are exercising. The Mayo Clinic says you should always check your blood sugar levels before, during and after your routine. This reduces the risk of an unexpected dizzy spell or fainting incident during your workout and also helps you to understand how your blood sugar levels respond to different fitness activities.
Don’t Overdo It. Moderation is the key to gaining the full benefits of your routine without endangering your health. The Mayo Clinic recommends roughly 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity. If your fitness routine is too strenuous, you not only raise the risk of injury or coronary incident, but you can also counteract the treatment benefits of exercise. You don’t want to exercise to reduce diabetes risk only to further harm your body. Overly intense exercise can prompt the body to up its glucose production, elevating the very blood sugar levels that you’ve worked so hard to reduce.
Find Something You Enjoy. We can’t stress this enough! The best way to get yourself into a steady fitness routine is to find something that you truly love to do. There are few things more destructive to a good exercise regimen than dreading your workout. If you enjoy the outdoors, try riding a bicycle, gardening in your yard or finding an enjoyable walking route. If you like competitive sports, look for a friend to partner up with. If you aren’t sure what you enjoy, try taking an instructional class that interests you. Whatever it is, make sure your workout is something that you can look forward to.
Consider Safety First
When you exercise you always run the risk of a potential injury, and even more so when you are living with a chronic disease like diabetes. A Mobile Guardian or an Active Guardian will not only help to keep you protected in the gym, it will also help you stay connected to help at home. This way, should you experience an injury while you’re working out, or if your blood sugar dips dangerously low while at home, you always have a safety net.