Long-term physical exercise can improve glycemic control and reduce chronic health risks in people with diabetes.*
Research shows that just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day can help you lose weight and control your insulin levels.* Healthy aerobic exercises can include brisk walking, jogging, rowing, hiking, team sports, swimming, stair climbing, and low impact aerobics.
While aerobic exercise is the most effective form of exercise for controlling A1C, studies show that a combination of aerobic and resistance exercise was more effective than aerobic exercise alone. Participants in a 12 week lifestyle program that included exercise lost 23.5 pounds on average, and were able to lower their A1C levels from 7.5 to 6.6.* Lowering your A1C by as little as one point can have significant positive impact on your well-being, as well as reduce your risk for complications such as heart disease and kidney failure.
Effect of regular exercise training on changes in HbA1c, BMI and VO2max among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: an 8-year trial
Battling Diabetes With Diet and Exercise
The American Diabetes Association recommends strength training twice a week – in addition to your regular aerobic exercise routine. Recommended exercise includes weight machines or free weights at the gym, using resistance band, calisthenics or exercises that use your own body weight to work your muscles, and other activities that build and keep muscle like heavy gardening.
Outdoor activities can be the ideal workout for those living with diabetes. Your body is better able to utilize insulin as long as you’re active – so spending an hour outside each day can have a profound impact on your A1C levels.
If you have neuropathy, consider biking – which helps improve blood flow to your legs. Swimming is an ideal choice for sufferers of proliferative retinopathy, as it is non weight-bearing.
Talk to Your Doctor
Before starting any new exercise routine, talk to your doctor to ensure that what you’re doing is safe.
Tips for ensuring safe exercise include checking your blood sugar levels before and after exercising, carrying at least 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, and drink plenty of fluid before, during, and after you exercise. If you feel any dizziness or a change in your heartbeat, stop exercising immediately and check your blood sugar levels.
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