A sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for anyone, especially if you have diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends that those with diabetes spend 30 minutes a day at least five days a week doing moderate to intense aerobic exercise, as well as strength training at least two times a week.
Along with eating right, taking your medication and keeping your stress levels down, participating in regular physical activity is an integral component to effectively managing your diabetes. The benefits of regular exercise for those with diabetes include the body’s cells being more effective at removing glucose from the blood and lowering blood glucose level.
So whether you have diabetes or are at risk of it, here are five ways you can exercise throughout the week to better manage your diabetes and achieve an overall healthier you.
If you’ve been a couch potato most your life, walking is the perfect way to start getting active and fit. Anyone can walk, and it doesn’t require any equipment. You only need to start with walking 10 minutes a day. As your health and strength improve and you find your ideal walking pace, up your daily walks by a few minutes each week until you can work up to 30 minutes of brisk week five days a week.
Want to try an exercise that incorporates aerobic exercise and strength training? Try yoga. Yoga has been shown to reduce body fat, lower blood pressure and improve blood glucose levels. Many also use it to help alleviate stress, which is known to affect blood sugar levels. One study found that yoga is especially effective in lowering blood glucose levels in those who have Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Not all exercise has to be boring or require an hour a day to see results. Rebounding is a lower-impact aerobic exercise that adds fun to your weekly workout routines and is a very effective form of exercise for diabetics. All of the health advantages of rebounding owe something to the gravitational pull your body is subjected to while jumping up and down. These g-forces benefit your lymphatic system, which relies on your body’s physical movements to transport nutrients to your body’s cells and remove toxic waste from your body, ultimately improving your lymph fluids. Diabetics can see positive results by bouncing on a mini trampoline for just 10 minutes a day. One diabetic rebounder said that after regularly jumping on his mini trampoline he’s “had near perfect blood sugar results every time I test.”
4. Lifting Weights
Lifting weights is a form of strength training that increases your muscle mass, advances your flexibility, improves your insulin resistance and lowers your blood glucose. A study found that strength training is more effective than endurance training at improving glycemic control and lipid profile, giving it a crucial role in treating Type 2 diabetes. Regular strength training, like lifting weights, can also increase bone strength, making you less susceptible for fractures, which those with diabetes are at higher risk for than someone who doesn’t have it.
Gardening isn’t just a way to have wonderful-smelling flowers or fresh fruits and vegetables on your table every day; it’s full of exercise benefits for those with diabetes (and those without, too). If you don’t have a garden, start one this year. Bending over pulling weeds, carrying gardening tools and everything else that goes into preparing and tending a garden gives you a good workout. If you already have a garden, start making watering a little more of a workout and putting in a few hours of heavy gardening each week. Rather than using a hose, fill a bucket up with water, water one part of your garden and repeat that process until everything has been watered.
Remember, if you haven’t been a consistent exerciser, start out slow, and increase the interval and intensity of your weekly workout routine over time. And always check with your doctor before taking on a new exercise routine.