Being physically active is good for diabetes, but it's important you do it safely.

4 things to know to exercise safely with diabetes | Life

Physical activity is good for diabetes, but it's important to do it safely.

Physical activity is good for diabetes, but it’s important to do it safely.

  • If you’re someone with diabetes (or at risk of developing it), you’ve no doubt heard that regular exercise can lower your risk.
  • For example, being active can help you control your blood sugar and reduce your risk of developing complications like heart disease.
  • Dr. Mosima Mabunda, Wellness Manager at Discovery Vitality, explains everything you need to know.

Exercise is one of the three pillars of diabetes management, along with medication and a healthy diet. If you’re wondering why, here’s the long and the short, according to Dr. Mosima Mabunda, Wellness Manager at Discovery Vitality.

Why should I exercise?

Exercise is an important tool in preventing diabetes and related health complications, such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus, which can develop over time due to lifestyle.

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As Harvard Health explains, for people with diabetes, the benefits of exercise cannot be overstated. A previous study, for example, found that people with diabetes who walked at least two hours a week were less likely to die of heart disease than their sedentary counterparts, while those who exercised three to four hours per week further reduced their risk. For people with diabetes, exercise is key, says Mabunda:

For type 1 diabetes, moving more increases insulin sensitivity (meaning your body will need less insulin). It helps in type 2 diabetes by reducing body fat and increasing insulin production.

Exercise also helps prevent foot ulcers because physical movement improves blood flow to blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to muscles and tissues.

1. How much exercise do I need?

For the best health benefits, people with diabetes should get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) per week of moderately vigorous physical activity, such as brisk walking, lap swimming, or cycling, or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity per week, to get their heart pumping, says Mabunda. Include muscle-strengthening activity two or three times a week.

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2. How much should I exercise?

You should aim for moderately intense exercise. If you want to do very strenuous exercise, clarify this first with your healthcare provider, advises Mabunda.

She adds, “Moderate-intensity activity increases heart rate. Breathing becomes faster and your body temperature increases, but it is still possible to have a conversation. Vigorous-intensity activity dramatically increases heart rate and breathing becomes hard and rapid. that a few words can be spoken without stopping to breathe.”

3. Why is the timing of my session so important?

“Always consider the timing of exercise and its impact on drug levels,” says Mabunda. For people with diabetes to be able to exercise safely, it is essential to monitor their blood sugar levels before, during and after physical activity.

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“People taking medications, especially insulin, may experience hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) because exercise improves insulin function, effectively removing glucose from the blood and in muscles,” she adds. Always carry a diabetes-friendly snack with you to counter dizziness and fainting associated with hypoglycemia.

Do you have diabetes? Share your life story after diagnosis here.

4. How can I become more active?

It’s clear that exercise is a great way to lower blood sugar, improve insulin resistance, and lose weight. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Start slowly by making small changes to current activity levels.
  • Avoid sitting or not moving for too long and find ways to get more movement in your day, like taking the stairs and walking more.
  • Increase your activity little by little, following it along.
  • Set yourself (realistic) goals.
  • Variety is key. Choose an activity that you enjoy to encourage regular participation – whether it’s a walk or a swim, a sports team practice, a martial art or a dance.
  • Make it social. Join your local Parkrun at and enjoy the outdoors at a brisk pace with your friends and family.

#exercise #safely #diabetes #Life

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