The Best Exercises for Diabetics
When you think about the benefits of diabetes exercise they're plenty. First, daily exercise helps your body to work more efficiently. It helps your body to burn more calories, and to use insulin more effectively. It also helps to control your blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Exercise also improves blood circulation and flexibility.
Wondering what the are the best exercises for diabetes? Unlike some other chronic diseases, you can participate in just about any activity - as long as you take a few extra precautions. For instance, if your blood glucose isn't under control you may be more adversely affected by high-intensity exercises or exercising for a long period of time. You should also wear comfortable shoes and insoles to protect your feet.
According to the American Diabetes Association, an effective diabetes exercise plan should include aerobic, strength training and flexibility exercises.
When you have diabetes, your risk of cardiovascular or heart disease increases. Aerobic exercises have significant cardiovascular benefits. They increase your heart and breathing rate, and help to lower your blood pressure. They also reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels in your blood that can lead to heart disease. Also, aerobic exercise burn fat and calories, which helps to control your blood glucose levels and reduces the amount of insulin you take.
Walking is one of the best exercises for diabetes. Here are five other aerobic activities that give you the biggest results for your efforts:
- Stair climbing
- Skipping (or jump rope)
- A ski or elliptical machine workout.
Strength training helps you to build muscle, which increases your metabolism and allows you to burn more calories - even when you're at rest. Studies also show that dynamic strength training improves insulin sensitivity, fasting blood glucose and insulin, and glucose tolerance. It can decrease peak blood glucose levels, especially in women with type 2 diabetes. Here are some you can try at home:
- Resistance exercises using elastic bands, exercise tubing or a Pilates reformer
- Body exercises such as squats, lunges, and push ups
- Free weights using adjustable weights for your comfort level
Flexibility exercises or stretches keep joints flexible, improve your balance and range of motion, and reduce your risk of injury during exercise and other activities. Stretching also reduces stress, which can make diabetes worse. It also helps to burn calories and improve muscle tone. Some of the best flexibility exercises for diabetes are:
- Static stretches for all major muscle groups
- Dynamic stretches, which include speed and movement during the stretch such as side bends, arm swings, or alternate toe touches.
While stretching is one of the best exercises for diabetes, it's not as simple as you may think. Do a warm up before practicing static stretches. Practice dynamic stretches only if your diabetes is under control and you're otherwise fit. Avoid ballistic stretches, which include bouncing during the stretch, as they're more likely to cause injury.
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