The Best Exercises for Managing Diabetes

The Best Exercises for Managing Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic, incurable condition that affects glucose metabolism. When you have diabetes, your body doesn’t properly use the sugar extracted from food. 

This can occur either due to damage to the beta cells in the pancreas (type 1 diabetes) or as a consequence of developing insulin resistance over the years (type 2 diabetes). 

Patients with type 1 diabetes are often diagnosed early in life. They don’t produce enough insulin or no insulin at all, requiring daily injections.

Type 2 diabetes develops later in life, and it’s strongly associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Unlike those suffering from type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetics do produce insulin, but the insulin they produce isn’t effective at keeping blood sugar levels at a normal level. 

Diet plays a critical role in managing diabetes, as what you eat has a direct impact on your blood sugar levels and the amount of medicine you need to take. However, exercise can help with diabetes as well. 

From our experts at Bethel Family Medicine, here are three of the most effective exercises for diabetes management. 

Walking 

When walking, your muscle’s requirements for glucose increase, enabling you to reduce blood glucose at a faster rate. 

The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association recommends walking at least 30 minutes five times per week to help lower your blood glucose levels.

Strength training 

Lifting weights not only depletes more glucose but also promotes the growth of muscle tissue, which has higher glucose requirements than fat tissue. People who have more lean mass are also more sensitive to insulin. 

Swimming 

Many diabetics have trouble walking long distances due to nerve damage in the feet, which increases the risk for slow-healing wounds and bacterial infections. Swimming is easy on the joints and doesn’t put any stress on the feet, making it an excellent alternative to walking for diabetes.

Learning more about diabetes management 

It’s hard to exercise away a slice of cake or a donut. However, combining consistent exercise with a diet that doesn’t cause major glucose spikes makes a significant impact on your health.

If you’re interested in preventing diabetes complications and learning how to take control of your health, contact us to schedule an appointment at Bethel Family Medicine in Brockton, Massachusetts. 

Our experts use a comprehensive approach to managing diabetes that not only focuses on the right medications, but also includes nutritional programs and referrals to fitness trainers that specialize in patients suffering from diabetes. 

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