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Recommended physical activity for diabetics

Types of Physical Activity best for Diabetics:

  • Structured exercise: It has a positive effect on glycemic control.
  • Aerobic fitness : It contributes to decreasing cardiovascular and overall mortality and increasing levels of HDL
  • Resistance training: Beneficial, as it improves insulin sensitivity and has a positive effect on reduced muscle mass, although increased care should be taken to ensure it is performed safely.

However, the patient’s condition should be evaluated before any type of physical activity is suggested. Age, weight and BMI, previous activity level, type of therapy and risk of cardiovascular or coronary artery disease are some of the factors that should be investigated before suggesting one type of activity.

Physical activity can help the general health of a diabetic person, even without dramatic changes in body fat and total weight, simply by reducing their insulin resistance and increasing their insulin sensitivity. Thus eegular activity is a key part of managing diabetes along with proper meal planning, taking medications as prescribed, and stress management.

A complete physical activity routine includes four kinds of activity:

  1. Being active throughout the day -walking, using the stairs, moving around
  2. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, or dancing
  3. Strength training, like lifting light weights
  4. Flexibility exercises, such as stretching

Aerobic Exercise:

Aerobic exercise makes your heart and bones strong, relieves stress and improves blood circulation. It also lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke by keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels on target. Aim for about 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. If you haven't been very active recently, start out with 5 or 10 minutes a day. Then work up to more time each week. Or split up your activity for the day—try a brisk 10-minute walk three times each day. If you're trying to lose weight, you may want to aim for more than 30 minutes a day.

Here are some ways to get aerobic exercise:

  • Brisk walking (outside or inside on a treadmill)
  • Bicycling/Stationary cycling indoors
  • Dancing
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Swimming or water aerobics
  • Playing tennis
  • Stair climbing
  • Jogging/Running
  • Hiking
  • Rowing
  • Ice-skating or roller-skating
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Moderate-to-heavy gardening

Strength Training:

Strength training helps build strong bones and muscles and makes everyday chores like carrying groceries easier. With more muscle, you burn more calories, even at rest. Do your strength routine several times a week.

Here are some ways to do Strength Training (Resistance training)

  • Weight machines or free weights at the gym
  • Using resistance bands
  • Lifting light weights or objects like canned goods or water bottles at home
  • Calisthenics or exercises that use your own body weight to work your muscles (examples are push-ups, sit ups, squats, lunges, wall-sits and planks)
  • Classes that involve strength training
  • Other activities that build and keep muscle like heavy gardening

Flexible Exercise:

Flexibility exercises, also called stretching, help keep your joints limber and lower your chances of getting hurt. Gentle stretching for 5 to 10 minutes helps your body warm up and get ready for activities and cool down afterwards.

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