Practicing a healthy lifestyle is a major part of managing your overall well-being, especially when diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This means getting into the regular habit of taking your medication on time and watching your diet. But another important factor most people tend to forget about is giving your body the proper workout routine to stay energized and in shape.
Regular exercise can be a great boost to managing your type 2 diabetes. In fact, health experts recommend around 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise weekly. When you work out, you help lower your body’s glucose levels and keep them within a healthy range. You also get other benefits that can improve your overall physical, mental, and emotional health.
However, this is easier said than done for most people, especially when you have no idea how to get started with building a routine. Depending on your current health condition and your health goals, everyone’s workout plan can slightly differ from one another.
For more information on how you can properly manage your diabetes with exercise, take a look at the infographic below for your guidance.
Health Benefits of Exercise to Diabetics1
Physical activities can not only help you better manage type 2 diabetes, but they can also positively impact your mental health. Here is a look at some of the most notable ones.
Manages blood pressure and improves blood circulation
High blood pressure can cause complications later on, leading to heart diseases and stroke. By keeping a regular workout routine, you can have better control over your blood pressure, setting it at a healthy level. Exercise is also a good way to improve blood circulation, keeping your organs functioning properly.
Strengthens your heart
When you work out, you exercise your heart. Developing a strong heart means having lower risks of health problems like clogged arteries, strokes, and heartburn. It can also help maintain normal body functions and improve the performance of other organs in the body.
Enhances muscle strength
More muscle strength means you’re less likely to hurt yourself when doing daily activities. With exercise, you can also improve your balance and flexibility to move around with ease. This allows you to do more without straining your body too much.
Controls blood sugar levels
Regular workouts help manage blood sugar levels easier. This is because when you move around, your insulin works more effectively. The more intense the activity is, the longer duration your blood sugar is affected.
Improves mood and relaxation
During your workouts, your brain releases endorphins which help boost your mood and sense of well-being. When you stick to a training schedule, you can control your stress levels, allowing you to rest better at night.
8 Effective Exercises for Type 2 Diabetes2
There are multiple types of workouts you can choose from that can match your physical capabilities, your interests, as well as your environment. If you’re looking for suggestions on building your own workout routine, here are some you can try to get started.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to get some exercise in your daily schedule. Instead of taking a car or using an elevator, walk to your destination if the distance is not too straining.
Going for a 30-minute walk every other day can help improve your health little by little. When you have built up greater strength and stamina, try upgrading your session to a light jog.
If you want to get fit, getting on a bike a few times a week can help improve your cardio fitness and strengthen your core and leg muscles. It’s also a good way to keep your blood sugar levels low, considering it’s an exercise that works almost all body parts.
Yoga is perfect for anyone looking to get started to exercise. This low-intensity workout can help improve your flexibility, breathing, and balance. Yoga therapy can also increase insulin receptors in the body, which helps takes the glucose from the blood and turns it into energy.
Hitting the local pool regularly allows you to work out your upper and lower body. It’s also a great way to keep the heart strong and help manage type 2 diabetes as it improves insulin sensitivity. While you’re in the water, try practicing different strokes to exercise other parts of your body. You can also try various water activities to make it more enjoyable.
Tai chi is another low-intensity workout that focuses on controlling your movements and breathing. It also helps boost your blood glucose metabolism and lower blood sugar levels. Practice for a short amount of time each day to improve your stamina and reduce stress.
Lifting weights or using resistance bands are aerobic exercises that strengthen your muscles. High-intensity workouts can boost how your body uses insulin, but remember to practice caution when doing so. Use light weights to start and work your way up to gauge your limits.
Dancing and workout games
There are different forms of dance that help improve bone density and aid in weight management, which is a must when you manage your diabetes. Whichever style and music you choose to jive to, it will all depend on the intensity and duration you make the session out to be. You can also get your exercise in from games like Just Dance or Beat Saber to add a fun element to your workouts.
Team sports like basketball, volleyball, and soccer can help keep you motivated to exercise as you spend time with others. They also improve multiple aspects of your physical, mental, and emotional health. Schedule a game with your family and friends once or twice a week to help yourself stay fit while enjoying some company.
Things to Consider When Getting Started3
Everyone has different levels of physical strength. Before you start working out, take these factors into consideration first.
Inform your doctor
Getting the OK from your doctor shows that you’re healthy enough to start exercising. Especially if you’re taking any medication, you must first confirm if it can affect your blood sugar level when you start exercising. Checking in on your physician also lets them get better insights into how your health progresses as you improve it through your workouts.
Start with low-intensity workouts and gradually work your way up as you get more comfortable with your routine. This can help you avoid accidents and injuries as you strengthen your body. You can also break down your sessions into sets to help you ease into the habit.
Build a schedule
Regular exercise is key to better managing type 2 diabetes. Dedicate a few days a week for you to do your routine. High-intensity workouts can be scheduled less frequently than lighter exercises. Alternatively, you can also dedicate different days of the week to focus on working out certain parts of your body.
Keep your blood sugar levels in check
Before getting started, you want to make sure that your blood glucose levels are within a healthy range. This means carefully planning your food and insulin intake prior to exercising to prevent any episodes of hyper- or hypoglycemia during a session. In case your blood sugar drops mid-workout, it pays to have a snack rich in carbohydrates on hand to help you keep you going.
Remember to stay hydrated
Regularly drinking water already brings multiple benefits to the body. When it comes to working out, it helps quench thirst and replenish lost fluids in the body when you sweat. For people with type 2 diabetes, staying well-hydrated is all the more important as it helps flush excess glucose out of the bloodstream, ultimately managing the insulin hormone.
Take note of your progress
Make a detailed list of your progress as you continue your routine. You can use an app or a journal to keep track of your workout streaks, weight, sugar levels, blood pressure, etc. This can help you figure out if your workouts are effective in helping you reach your goal or if you need to change up certain aspects of it.
Know when to stop
Knowing your limits is important to help you prevent major injuries and accidents during your workouts. If you go over what you’re physically capable of, results can lead to exhaustion, major body pains, and more. When something doesn’t feel right, stop and assess if anything needs immediate medical attention.
Keep It in Motion
Keeping up with a workout routine can be beneficial to managing your diabetes. But this doesn’t mean that the intensity level has to be high. As long as you stick to the habit, you can lower the risks of developing issues as critical as heart complications. If you want to learn what your odds are for this, you can take this assessment test for more information.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for information purposes only and is not meant to be substituted for the advice given by a registered medical practitioner. This should not be used for diagnosing health problems or for self-medication. Boehringer Ingelheim shall not be responsible for any damages or losses arising out of access to or use of information provided.