Type 2 Diabetes and Exercise
What Types of Exercise Are Best for Diabetes?
While most any exercise is healthy for people with diabetes, let's look at some specific types of exercise and their benefits:
Strength Training and Type 2 Diabetes
Findings show that exercise such as strength training can have a profound impact on helping people manage their diabetes. In one study of Hispanic men and women, 16 weeks of strength training produced dramatic improvements in sugar control. About 70% of these people were able to decrease their blood sugar medicine as a result of this type of exercise. Additionally, the study volunteers were stronger, gained muscle, lost body fat, had less depression, and felt much more self-confident.
For more detail, see WebMD's article Strength Training and Diabetes.
Aerobic Fitness and Type 2 Diabetes
Any activity that raises your heart rate and keeps it up for an extended period of time will improve your aerobic fitness. Aerobic exercise helps decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes and helps those with diabetes to better manage their blood sugar levels. Besides the health benefits, exercise is fun and boosts your mood. It's hard to feel stressed when you're walking on a treadmill or swimming laps in a pool.
Type 2 Diabetes and Exercise Tips
- To reduce the risk of hypoglycemia if you have diabetes, follow a regular routine of exercising, eating your meals, and taking your medicines at the same time each day.
- Prolonged or strenuous exercise can cause your body to produce adrenaline and other hormones that can counteract the effects of insulin and cause your blood sugar to rise. If you are participating in strenuous exercise (exercising at your maximum capacity) or prolonged exercise (lasting for several hours or more), your insulin and/or oral diabetic medicine or your calories may need to be changed. Talk to your health care provider about how to adjust your medicine.
- Be careful exercising when your medicine is reaching its peak effect.
- Depending on the time of exercise, reducing your dose of either long-acting insulin or short-acting insulin may be necessary. Your doctor can recommend how to make this adjustment.
- Exercise with someone who knows you have diabetes and knows what to do if you have a low blood-sugar reaction.
- Wear a medical identification tag (for example, MedicAlert) or carry an identification card that states you have diabetes.
- Check your sugars before, during and after exercise and always carry a small carbohydrate snack such as a fruit or fruit drink since low blood sugars can occur.