Physical activity also seems to improve how the body responds to insulin and decrease cardiovascular disease risk.
Both aerobic and resistance exercise can improve glucose levels in people living with diabetes. Aerobic exercise could include anything that gets your heart rate up like walking, running, bicycling, swimming, and dancing. Resistance exercise includes activities that increase strength and muscle mass. Some examples include using resistance bands, handheld weights, and weight machines.
The current recommendation is that people with diabetes aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, and also participate in resistance and strength exercises at least twice per week.
Did you know that dancing, mowing the lawn, and gardening count as physical activity? Cleaning counts towards your activity minutes, too. To count the exercise as part of your minutes, it is not necessary to get all of your physical activity done at one time. You can break it up into ten-minute intervals throughout the day. Start slowly and build from where you are.
Do not let exercise overwhelm you if you are not currently active. Try different activities to keep you going and keep you interested. Add music to your workouts for more motivation. Wear a step counter to track your steps (this can also motivate you to increase steps as you ramp up the exercise). Challenge yourself each week to increase steps by a few hundred if you can do that. Also, challenge yourself not only to walk more but to increase the pace every few weeks. Find a workout buddy to keep you compliant. If someone is waiting for you to go for your daily walk, you will make more of an effort.
More benefits of routine exercise:
Before beginning a program of physical activity of more than just brisk walking, you should be assessed by your doctor. If you are taking insulin, you need to keep a close eye on your carbohydrate intake and how you feel. If your medication dose is not adjusted properly, you may be at risk for hypoglycemia.
Always partner up with your doctor to discuss adjustments in your medications and when increasing or changing your exercise plan. Remember how many times you have regretted eating something and how many times you regret exercise. Many and zero!
As always, be well!
Sherry Jenko, NDTR, Group Lifestyle Balance Coach