The American Diabetics Association (ADA) says that diabetics should aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise every week. While that seems like a lot of time, when you break exercises for diabetics down day by day, it all adds up.
You may feel like you lack the energy to work out, but even a walk will do, as we'll see later. If you're new to working out, you might wonder what exercise options you have.
How much should you exert yourself? What are the best exercises for diabetics?
Our guide can get you on the road to fitness. Read on to get going!
Exercises for Diabetics: Benefits and Safety
Harvard Health reports that diabetics who exercised showed 0.7% lower HbA1c values, lower insulin resistance, less obesity, and a lower chance of heart disease. There's no doubt that exercises for diabetics can be beneficial, and you'll find that even light exercise will clear your mind and make you feel more energetic.
Most people's blood sugar levels lower a little after exercise. A brisk walk or light run will have a small impact, but strenuous exercise can use up all your blood glucose. It is important to monitor your blood sugar at intervals and have fast glucose sources with you at all times.
Right, get your sneakers on, and let's get started.
There are few things better to blow away the cobwebs than a brisk walk. If you live near nature, hit up the park or your local waterside area. The best thing about walking is it's free!
Make sure you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes with ample toebox space and arch support. Bamboo socks a naturally odor-resistant for those warm-weather walks.
A 30-minute work should do the tricks, and if you repeat it 5 times a week, you'll hit your 150-minute weekly target. Try taking a walk about 1 hour after your evening meal and see how you feel afterward.
Hiking is a step up, and it is more strenuous due to inclines, declines, and tough terrain. It is perfect for building quad, glute, and calf muscles, as well as boosting cardio fitness. Before you know it, you'll be hiking the Grand Canyon, taking in the views.
Get your heart pumping with a jog around the block or in your local park. Running with diabetes is excellent for burning fat, controlling blood sugar, and building cardio fitness. It releases more endorphins than walking, and it will lift your mood for hours afterward.
Supportive running shoes are essential, especially if you're running on asphalt. Running on hard surfaces can be hard on your knees and ankles, so pay attention to your body, and take a day off if you feel any aches and pains. Compression socks for running can help, and there are ones specially designed for diabetics.
Ask a friend to join you. You'll know you're both getting fit when you can hold a conversation and run at the same time.
Swimming is a whole-body workout and one of the best cardio exercises for diabetics. It is low-impact and perfect for those with joint problems or arthritis. The water supports the weight of your body, and there are no hard surface impacts.
You will build your cardio fitness, burn calories, and tone up. You could also join group aerobics classes in the pool. See if your local fitness club offers them; they are a sociable way to keep fit and have fun.
Outdoor water areas, like lakes, are good in summer. Beware of the lack of lifeguards if you're a less confident swimmer and make sure to hydrate - it's easy to forget you're losing water when you're in the water!
Like swimming, cycling is a low-impact cardio exercise form that scorches fat, lowers blood sugar, reduces stress, and tones muscle. You most likely have an old bike in the garage, so dust it off and take it for a spin.
The great thing about cycling is that it is a form of transport too. Try cycling to work a few days a week or set aside time for a longer trip at the weekend. You will get to know more about your local area and maybe find some spots you never knew existed.
You can team cycling up with one of the other exercises for diabetics. How about cycling to your local pool, taking a swim, then cycling home?
Yoga and Pilates
Designed to work out both mind and body, yoga is an ancient art that has leaped to the forefront of modern culture. It is one of the best exercises for diabetics if you want to build strength and flexibility. It tends to be light on cardio, focusing instead on muscle strength and balance.
Many yoga schools offer a free first lesson. You might even have a friend, colleague, or family member who already practices yoga. Ask if you can join them next time and practice your sun salutations.
Pilates is a low-impact exercise form that uses slow, controlled movements to build balance, flexibility, and core strength. It works out the entire body and sessions tend to be 45 minutes to one hour. Like yoga, pilates is beneficial for the mind and the body, toning you up and banishing stress.
Strength exercises, like weightlifting, are anaerobic, rather than aerobic. This means they generate energy by breaking down glucose without oxygen. Any exercise too intense for normal respiration will be anaerobic: sprints, squat jumps, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and ... weightlifting.
Weightlifting is ideal for building explosive power and building muscle. Focus on large, basic movements, like bench presses, deadlifts, and rows. These compound exercises target multiple muscle groups at once and will build proportionate muscle as part of a strength routine.
You can get started with resistance bands. They are cheap and easy to use at home. There are countless resistance band exercises you can try, just be sure to warm up first to avoid injuries.
Due to the intense nature of some of these exercises for diabetics. You should consult with your doctor beforehand, and always monitor your blood sugar during your exercise routine.
Get Started with Exercises for Diabetics
Exercises for diabetics can help you get your blood sugar under control and build your self-confidence. Start small and build up. 150 minutes is the target, but any exercise is better than none - get started today!
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