Diabetes can be a difficult disease to control, and its prevalence is on the rise. Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common chronic illnesses affecting Americans today. Because diabetes is heavily impacted by the lifestyle choices you make, starting an exercise routine is a great way to manage your insulin and blood sugar levels.
As with any exercise program, getting your doctor’s go-ahead is key and, especially if you are just getting back into the swing of moderate intensity movement, taking it easy is a good idea. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also have a great workout routine that gives tangible results. Even incorporating basic movement into your week can go a long way in helping you to achieve your health goals.
Why does moving help manage diabetes?
When you engage in exercise or movement, your cells become more sensitive to insulin. In this way, it can more effectively lower blood sugar levels. Exercise is also an important component of weight management, a key in controlling diabetes. Movement is good for you, makes you feel better, and you will have more energy to enjoy life.
How do I get started?
Getting started can be as easy as taking a walk (once you have the go-ahead from your doctor, of course). Walking can be low impact, or you can aim for a brisk walk to get your aerobic exercise in for the day. Moderate intensity exercise is the most helpful form of movement for those with diabetes and other chronic conditions. You will know you are engaged in a moderate intensity level when you can talk but not sing while performing your movement.
Some other great ways to get moving and build up your endurance, stamina and strength include:
- Running or jogging
- Water aerobics and swimming
- High intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Tai chi
Aim for 150 minutes of exercise each week
No matter which exercises you choose, aim for about 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity movement. This may seem like a lot but remember you can spread it out however you want. If you attend an hour-long Zumba class at your local Hancock Wellness Center 2 times a week followed by a brisk walk with a friend, for instance, you will have already met your goal!
Diabetes education at the Hancock Wellness Centers
If you are still wondering how to get started, come and visit your local Hancock Wellness Centers, located in Greenfield, McCordsville and New Palestine. As a medically certified facility, we offer highly skilled and knowledgeable trainers and staff who understand your condition and can help you formulate an exercise plan. We also offer diabetes education for people of all ages as well as diabetes prevention programming.
Having diabetes doesn’t mean you are relegated to living a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, movement is a key in helping to manage your chronic illness. Start slow and be gentle with yourself, but find ways to challenge yourself as you build strength, stamina and endurance.