Why should people with diabetes exercise?
Q. I have diabetes and wonder why I should exercise when I really don't like it.
A. Exercise can help normalize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. The hardest part is getting started, but once
you get into the habit it gets easier with time. There are countless health benefits including better diabetes management.
What are the benefits of exercise for someone with diabetes?
Diabetes - Regular exercise can be very helpful to those who have diabetes. Those
with type 2 diabetes often see improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity from exercise.
Pre-Diabetes - Exercise can help to prevent or delay onset of type 2 diabetes. In a
recent study, those with Pre-Diabetes who implemented lifestyle changes including exercising 30 minutes per day, 5 days
a week, reduced their risk of developing diabetes by 58% (DPP study).
Weight loss - Possibly the most obvious benefit!
Weight loss can improve your sensitivity to insulin which ultimately helps you better control diabetes.
If your doctor has talked about weight loss, exercise can help you to do this.
Exercise increases calories burned which helps to reduce body weight.
Heart Disease - Those with diabetes are at increased risk for heart disease (#1 cause of death in the United States).
Exercise reduces risk for heart disease by strengthening the heart. The heart is a muscle and can be conditioned with exercise.
Exercise helps reduce resting heart rate. Exercise also aids in reducing blood pressure.
Finally, exercise helps to increase the "good cholesterol" (HDL cholesterol).
HDL cholesterol carries cholesterol out of the body instead of depositing it in the arteries or tissues.
Osteoporosis - Any exercise that is weight bearing, such as walking, jogging, or hiking, can aid in reducing bone loss and is helpful in reducing risk for osteoporosis.
Psychological Benefits - You may have heard of an "exercise high" - this is actually your body chemically releasing something called endorphins.
Endorphins are believed to aid in appetite control, reduction in anxiety, improved mood, and aid in relaxation.
Focus on these benefits when getting ready to exercise. Do something for your body today - physical exercise!
Christine Carlson, MS, RD, BC-ADM, CDE
GlucoMenu® Nutrition Director