It is common knowledge that exercise is good for our health, and most of us struggle to find the time to fit workouts in our schedules. But when it comes to someone with type 2 diabetes, exercise becomes non-negotiable – or at least it should be! Those with type 2 diabetes should always exercise under the guidance and recommendations of their health care providers.
Exercise has many benefits specific to the disease in addition to its regular benefits. It can lower blood sugar by…
- …increasing insulin sensitivity, so that cells can easily use the available insulin to take up glucose (sugar) during and after exercise, and by
- …stimulating a mechanism brought on by muscle contraction, allowing cells to take up glucose with or without insulin.
As an added bonus, exercising on a regular, consistent basis can lower your A1C.
In addition to regulating blood sugar, exercise can help those with type 2 diabetes avoid long term complications, specifically heart problems like arteriosclerosis, by maintaining good cholesterol levels. Find more health benefits of exercise here.
Ready to get started? Be sure to talk to your health care provider before starting any exercise program. Following are some helpful tips to know before you lace up those running shoes:
- Ask your provider about checking blood sugar before, during and after your workout.
- Carry carbs (fruit, sugary drink) – especially for those taking insulin – in case your blood sugar dips too low.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Start gradually – work your way up to longer workouts.
- Wear appropriate footwear, and check your feet often for sores.
Already have complications from diabetes? You can still exercise, but with more caution. Check out this article for some great advice.