What Can Physical Activity Do for People with Diabetes?

By NeNa | Articles

Nov 03

Everyone can benefit from regular physical activity, especially those with diabetes. There are many types of physical activity you can choose from. So, even if you haven’t exercised before, there are ways to add some physical activity to your daily agenda.

What’s more, once you start practicing physical exercise every day, you’ll wonder how you could live without it.

Best Types of Physical Activity

There are 4 types of physical activities that form one complete physical activity routine:

  1. Continuous activity— using the stairs, walking around the house or office
  2. Strength training – push-ups, squats, lifting light weights
  3. Aerobic exercise – swimming, cycling, brisk walking, or dancing
  4. Flexibility exercises – pilates, stretching, yoga

Here are some of the benefits you’ll gain by being physically active every day.

Short-term Benefits of Increased Physical Activity

  • Reduces blood sugar levels within an hour
  • Relieves stress, fatigue, and anxiety
  • Boosts energy levels and strength during the day
  • Relaxes and improves sleep
  • Gives you time for fun with your friends and family
  • Improves confidence

Long-term Benefits of Physical Activity

  • Improved blood glucose control
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Weight loss or maintaining healthy weight
  • Reduced risk of diabetes complications including eye problems, kidney disease, and heart disease
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Improved life quality

Physical Activity and Diabetes

Regular physical activity improves the body’s tissue sensitivity to insulin, as well as its effectiveness. This effect lasts for few hours after exercise. What’s more, the muscles targeted during exercise burn glucose which leads to lower levels of glucose in the blood.

Another benefit of being physically active is a lower risk of diabetes complications. What’s more those with prediabetes can help prevent or slow down the onset of diabetes.

Even though exercise might not impact the blood sugar levels in people with type 1 diabetes, it can still provide the other benefits listed above. Also, lack of physical activity in these people can worsen their health, so they are still recommended to exercise regularly.

On the other hand, exercise is an important part of a type 2 diabetes management. It helps control blood sugar levels and even reduce the dose of insulin (if used). Besides, these people feel all the other benefits described above.

Physical Activity Recommendations for People with type 2 Diabetes

According to a study published in the American Diabetes Association, here are the recommendations for people with type 2 diabetes regarding physical activity:

  • Exercising every day, or every other day to improve insulin action
  • Adults should perform both resistance and aerobic exercise to have optimal health and glycemic results
  • Adolescents and children should have at least an hour of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a day, with strength-related exercise minimum three days per week.