The leading cause of Type 2 Diabetes: Being overweight

“Sometimes, it may seem easier to pop a pill or even take a shot than to put on your walking shoes and hit the trail.  But the truth is that exercise, in combination with a healthy diet, is one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself if you have diabetes.”

Exercise Benefits

  • Both aerobic and resistance exercise have been proven to improve receptor sensitivity to insulin. In some people, exercise combined with a meal plan can control Type 2 Diabetes without the need of medication. Adults who performed moderate exercise for 2.5 hours per week were 58% less likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Regular exercise helps reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.
  • Improves circulation especially in the arms and legs where people with diabetes can have problems
  • Reduces risk of stroke by helping manage cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.
  • Burns calories which can help decrease excess body fat.
  • Reduces stress, improves feeling of well-being making it easier to follow your dietary guidelines, Stress has been shown to raise glucose levels.

American Diabetic Association 2018 Recommendations for Physical Activity

  • Children and adolescents with diabetes or prediabetes should engage in 60 min/day or more of moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, with vigorous muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activities at least 3 days/week.
  • Most adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes should engage in 150 min or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week, spread over at least 3 days/week, with no more than 2 consecutive days without activity. Shorter durations (minimum 75 min/week) of vigorous-intensity or interval training may be sufficient for younger and more physically fit individuals.
  • Adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes should engage in 2-3 sessions/week of resistance exercise on nonconsecutive days.
  • All adults, and particularly those with type 2 diabetes, should decrease the amount of time spent in daily sedentary behavior. Prolonged sitting should be interrupted every 30 min for blood glucose benefits, particularly in adults with type 2 diabetes.
  • Flexibility training and balance training are recommended 2–3 times/week for older adults with diabetes. Yoga and tai chi may be included based on individual preferences to increase flexibility, muscular strength, and balance.

American College of Sports Medicine Precautions for Exercise

  • Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.  Be sure to inquire how any medications you are taking may affect your capacity to exercise
  • Always use adequate warm-up and cool-down periods
  • If neuropathy is present, avoid high impact activities
  • For weight bearing activities, wear footwear which is properly fitted, supportive and well-cushioned
  • Be sure to keep feet dry and clean
  • Perform regular blood glucose monitoring
  • Strenuous strength training or high-impact exercise is not recommended for people with uncontrolled diabetes. Such exercise can strain weakened blood vessels in the eyes of patients with retinopathy.  High-impact exercise may also injure blood vessels in the feet.

Exercise and blood glucose

  • To help prevent hypoglycemia during physical activity check your blood glucose before you exercise, if it’s below 5.5 mmol/L, have a small snack.
  • Drink plenty of fluids during physical activity, since your blood glucose can be affected by dehydration.

You should not exercise if...

  • Your blood sugar level is above 16.7 mmol/L.
  • your fasting blood glucose is above 13.9 mmol/L.
  • you have ketones in your urine.
  • You are sick.
  • You are short of breath.
  • You are experiencing any tingling, pain or numbness in your legs.
  • Your medication is peaking.

Things to remember...

  • Unless you were previously sedentary, frequent, high-intensity (not high-impact) exercise will yield the fastest results for those cleared by their doctors
  • Wear good, protective, well-fitted footwear to help avoid injuries and wounds to the feet
  • Avoid lifting excessively heavy weights
  • Try to exercise at the same time every day for the same duration to help control blood sugar
  • If you use insulin exercise after eating, not before
  • Inject insulin in sites away from the muscles used during exercise: this can help avoid hypoglycemia
  • Check your blood sugar before and after activity to help in determining your response to exercise
  • Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise
  • Always wear an ID tag indicating you have diabetes to insure proper treatment in case there’s a problem.

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