Did you know that about 9.3% of the American population suffers from diabetes? You heard that right. Further, 27.8% of these people do not know that they have diabetes. So what is this condition that ails the nation?
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition which the body is not able to control how glucose is used after it is produced when the food that we eat is digested. Ordinarily, the glucose, or sugar as it is commonly referred to, is used by the cells for energy. Insulin that is produced by the pancreas acts as the ‘key’ that opens up the cell to receive the glucose. When one is suffering from diabetes, there is a problem with the production of insulin hence the cells are not able to receive the glucose. What results is excess glucose in the body. There are many types of diabetes, but the main ones are type 1&2. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled through exercise and diet since the pancreas still produces some amounts of insulin though not sufficiently. Diabetics should also learn how to stop sugar cravings as this can play an important role in introducing less sugar in the body, thereby keeping the pancreas off pressure.
How Will Exercise Help My Type 2 Diabetes?
The chances are that if you have just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you haven’t been exercising enough. One of the first pieces of advice that your doctor shall give you is that you should eat healthily and be more active. While it is pretty straight forward how eating healthy will help control diabetes, it is not very clear how exercise will help. Apart from the usual benefits associated with exercising such as weight loss, exercise improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Insulin is thus much more efficient in the body.
Which Exercises Are Suitable For Me After I Have Been Diagnosed With Diabetes?
The next thing to figure out after a diagnosis is which exercises are right for you. On average, doctors will recommend that you have at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. While longer training periods might help to improve your parameters even further, you should take care that your insulin levels do not drop too much. The exercises that you can take are divided into three groups: aerobic exercises of moderate intensity, strength training and being more active in your everyday activities.
Aerobic exercises of moderate intensity
For an aerobic exercise to qualify to be of moderate intensity, it should make you sweat and pant in a way that you can speak, but you cannot manage to sing. Aerobic exercises are good for type 2 diabetes because they improve insulin resistance. Hence your body can use insulin better. If you just got diagnosed and hadn't been very active, you can start with 5 to 10 minutes of aerobic exercises and build on this as time goes by until you can exercise for 30 minutes a day. You should do these exercises for at least five days in a week. Some of the moderate intensity aerobic activities that you can engage in include:
• Water aerobics or swimming
• Brisk walking on a treadmill or outside
• Playing tennis
• Participating in an aerobic gym class
This is a type of exercise that combines both aerobic exercises with exercises that improve on flexibility such as lifting weights. Strength training will also help you with diabetes by improving insulin resistance. It will also lower your blood sugar levels. When you are doing strength training exercises, you should be breathing hard and fast and can only say a few words at a time. However, if you haven’t done this type of exercise before, be careful on how you approach it. You should do these kinds of exercises for at least two days in a week. They include:
• Lifting weights
• Doing exercises that use your body weight to build your muscles such as push-ups, squats, planks, etc.
• Heavy gardening
• Skipping rope
One of the causes of diabetes is a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, being more active can help you fight diabetes. You should be more active in your daily activities through simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking your dog, ditching your car for shorter distances and walking instead and carrying your groceries among others.
What Precautions Should I Take While Exercising?
As a diabetic person, the biggest precaution that you should take while exercising is that you should watch out that your blood sugar levels do not drop too low. Take a carbohydrate snack before bedtime if you exercise at night or have a snack every 20 minutes of exercise if you are not doing it at night. You can also adjust your insulin dosage if you are on insulin before exercise.
Finally, dietary supplements will help you cope with side effects of diabetes medication and also help you to live a healthy and fit life.