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Complete diabetic fitness guide

Aerobic exercise provides benefits for all people, including people with diabetes. Aerobic means “with oxygen.” An activity is aerobic if it places added demands on your heart, lungs, and muscles, increasing your breathing and heart rate and requiring increased transport of oxygen from your lungs to your circulatory system and muscles. Aerobic activities should make up the core of your exercise program.

These include activities such as:

  • Skating
  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling
  • Golfing (walking, not riding)
  • Aerobic dance
  • Tennis
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Swimming

Remember that aerobic activities are endurance activities that don’t require excessive speed. You generally benefit more from the amount of time you spend doing them than the speed you do them.

swimming great diabetic aerobic exercise

Take a walk to burn some fat.

Walking is one of the most straightforward diabetes exercises to get aerobic exercise. You don’t need equipment. You don’t have to learn special techniques. It’s safe and inexpensive. You can walk alone or with others, indoors or outdoors. Guidelines published by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists note that walking just 40 minutes four times a week is enough to lower insulin resistance, improving blood sugar control. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health also found that 1 hour a day of brisk walking can cut a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes in half.

complete diabetic wellness plan

Complete fitness plan

Aerobic exercise is just one component of physical fitness. Stretching and strengthening exercises also are essential for good health. Stretching exercises. Stretching before and after aerobic activity increases the range you can bend and stretch your joints, muscles, and ligaments. Stretching exercises also help prevent joint pain and injury. The stretches should be slow and gentle. Stretch only until you feel slight tension in the muscles.

Related: Diabetes dieting guide-Great, real world dieting solutions for diabetics

Here are four stretches you can try. Begin with five repetitions of each and try to build to 25 repetitions.

  • Calf stretch. Stand at arm’s length from the wall. Lean your upper body into the wall. Place one leg forward with the knee bent. Keep your other leg back with your knee straight and your heel down. Keeping your back straight, move your hips toward the wall until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Lower back stretch. Lie on a table or bed with your hips and knees bent and your feet flat on the surface. Gently pull one knee toward your shoulder with both hands. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Upper thigh stretch. Lie on your back on a table or a bed, with one leg and hip as near the edge as possible. Let your lower leg hang over the edge. Grasp the knee of the other leg and pull your thigh and knee firmly toward your chest until your lower back flattens against the table or bed. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Chest stretch. Clasp your hands behind your head. Pull your elbows firmly back while inhaling and exhaling deeply. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax.
  • Strengthening exercises. Strengthening exercises build more substantial muscles to improve posture, balance, and coordination. They also promote healthy bones, and they increase your rate of metabolism slightly, which can help keep your weight in check.

Here are four strengthening diabetes exercises you can try. Start with five repetitions of each and try to build to 25 repetitions.

  • Wall push-ups. Face the wall and stand far enough away so that you can place your palms on the wall and your elbows are slightly bent. Slowly bend your elbows and lean toward the wall, supporting your weight with your arms. Straighten your arms and return to your starting position. As you build strength, try standing farther away from the wall.
  • Standing squats. Stand next to a table or counter with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart and your palms on the table or counter. Keeping your back straight, slowly bend your knees anywhere from 30 to 60 degrees. Pause and then return to your starting position.
  • Heel raises. Stand with your feet about 12 inches apart, holding on to the back of a sturdy chair. Slowly raise your heels from the floor and stand on your tiptoes. Hold. Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Leg lifts. Stand with your feet about 12 inches apart, holding on to a table or the back of a chair. Slowly bend one knee, lifting your foot behind you. Hold the position, then slowly lower your leg down. Repeat with the other leg.

However, it is not only possible to do something against type 2 diabetes with medication; strength and endurance training also play a significant role in treatment! Physical activity can lower blood glucose levels in the long term. In addition, physical exercise has positive effects on a milder course of secondary and concomitant diseases.

Sports, fitness, and plenty of exercise also have a preventive effect against type 2 diabetes because two crucial factors that can lead to type 2 diabetes are obesity and lack of exercise. The most significant risk factor is obesity, i.e., being heavily overweight. For example, 80 to 90 percent of Americans with type 2 diabetes are obese.

Another cause is reduced insulin sensitivity, also known as insulin resistance, or when the body has impaired insulin secretion. Strength training protects against diabetes type 2 or helps if you already have the disease. Learn more about our training plans.

How exercise improves your blood glucose levels

When you exercise, your muscles work. Your muscles need energy, which is derived from glucose. Muscles even have their energy stores, glycogen stores, which they can draw on during the activity. When the stores are empty, the muscle cells draw glucose from your blood. As a result, your blood glucose level drops.

After a strenuous workout, this effect lasts for up to two days. The muscle cells need to replenish their empty glycogen stores with glucose from the blood. With regular exercise, the insulin sensitivity of the muscle cell increases, and medication can be reduced.

There is another effect of exercise: the increase in GLUT-4, the glucose transport molecule that regulates insulin-dependent glucose uptake in muscle. GLUT-4 transport molecules must be transported from their point of origin, the cell plasma, to the cell membrane, where they do their job.

How to exercise correctly with type 2 diabetes

Endurance training
Endurance training positively affects secondary and concomitant diseases in type 2 diabetes. One example of such a disease is a hypometabolic disorder. This can be improved by training. In addition, exercise enhances insulin sensitivity because it significantly affects the glucose uptake of the trained skeletal muscles. Thus, it is possible to reduce medication administration.

Long-term endurance training lowers the HbA1c level. This means that the blood glucose level is lower. There is also an increase in GLUT-4, the glucose transporter regulating insulin-dependent glucose uptake in the muscles.

It is recommended to do endurance training at least three times a week. The intensity should be 50 to 70 percent of the maximum heart rate. If blood glucose levels are well controlled, the frequency can be increased to over 70 percent.

The training time should be at least 150 minutes a week. An additional effect can be achieved by training for more than 300 minutes a week. Care should be taken to ensure that endurance training involves a dynamic load using large muscle groups. For example, an ergometer should be preferred to a cross trainer, as the leg muscles are subjected to more significant strain on an ergometer.

Strength training and its importance for diabetics

Strength training has a significant impact on the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Not only does insulin sensitivity improve, but so does glycogen storage. The cell’s ability to absorb glucose and store it as glycogen is optimized.

Thus, drug administration and strength training complement each other. Insulin injections can be delayed, and the dose can be lowered. On the day of exercise, experience shows that about 20 to 30 percent of insulin savings occur on the day of exercise. Even a single strength training session can improve insulin sensitivity in the trained muscles for 48 hours!

Therefore, the break between training sessions should not be longer than two days to affect insulin resistance positively.

Another effect is that GLUT-4 levels increase. The GLUT-4 transport molecules must be transported from the cell plasma to the cell membrane to fulfill their task. The transport, however, only takes place through muscle activity.

Important rules

No sports if your blood glucose level is too high
A too high blood glucose level can be dangerous during sports! There could even be an absolute insulin deficiency if the value is too high.

If this is the case, it is essential to rest and supply the body with insulin. Strength training is strongly discouraged in this acute condition!

Stress can also lead to high blood sugar levels. If insulin is then additionally injected, hypoglycemia can occur. To avoid this, the value should be measured regularly in this situation.

Avoid hypoglycemia

When exercising, some precautions should be taken. For example, blood glucose checks should be performed before and after training and possibly in between.

In hypoglycemia, snacks or drinks with fast carbohydrates, such as banana or apple juice, should be kept on hand. Because of the increased risk, exercise should only be done with a training partner or under supervision.

Hypoglycemia can occur up to 12 hours after endurance training. Signs that indicate this are: Shaking, weakness, unusual sweating, and tingling in the fingers or mouth.



Try diabetes diet and exercise for one month, and you will see how it is easy; to lose weight and feel better!

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Diabetic fitness guide – Be proactive and take back your health!
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