How Physical Activity Can Help People With Diabetes

There is no question about it, diabetes is increasing in America, with more than 34 million Americans suffering from the disease. This, in turn, leads to a variety of additional illnesses, billions in medical costs, and thousands of premature deaths every year. Thankfully, diabetes is a treatable disorder. Furthermore, there are plenty of ways that people can keep diabetes at bay. One such example is through physical activity and exercise.

Why Exercise Is Important

Exercise is great for anyone, of course, but there are specific benefits for people with diabetes.

Diabetes itself is caused by high blood sugar. This occurs because your body doesn’t produce enough insulin on its own, resulting in a series of blood sugar problems.

This is where exercise can come in. Everyone’s body works differently, but research has indicated that physical activity can help your body lower your blood sugar for up to a full day after you engage in some sort of physical activity. This helps your body naturally control your own blood sugar levels, potentially lessening the need for you to use insulin on its own. Exercise even makes your body more sensitive to insulin, making it easier for you to absorb any insulin that you do take.

Diabetes and Weight Loss

The connections between diabetes and weight loss are clear and long-established. Multiple studies have shown that even a small amount of weight loss is associated with lowered blood sugar. Additionally, weight loss is associated with many other physical benefits, including reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol, less pain, more energy, and so on. All of these benefits will, directly or indirectly, lead to improved diabetic functioning.

It is important to realize that this weight loss can come from a variety of sources, including physical activity. Remember, you don’t need to become a major weight lifter or marathon runner to reap the diabetic benefits of physical activity. Even low amounts of activity, like regular walking or engaging in yoga, can lead to positive benefits when it comes to your diabetes. In fact, some studies show that weight loss as low as 2% of your body weight can lead to improvements in your blood sugar. 

The Importance of Tracking Your Blood Sugar

One of the things that many with diabetes have noticed is that exercise can have an immediate impact on their blood sugar. While this comes with benefits, it also comes with challenges as it can potentially cause your blood sugar to reach dangerous highs or lows. For this reason, make sure that you track your blood sugar before and after any physical activity. This will allow you to adjust your insulin levels accordingly.

Start Slow and Check With Your Doctor

While there is no question about the benefits of physical activity for your diabetes, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be easy. Start low and slow. Ease your body into it, particularly if it has been some time since you last engaged in any sort of physical activity. Make sure to check with your doctor before you start any sort of exercise program as well. They may have some thoughts about the best exercises for you to try or advice on how to better exercise while still managing your diabetes.

Without a doubt, physical activity can help your diabetes. Follow the tips above, and you can be well on your way to better managing your diabetes.

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