Diabetes is usually controlled with the intake of a variety of medications taken on a regular basis. However, most diabetics don’t recognize or believe that lifestyle modification, such as performing prescribed exercise for diabetics, may also be pursued to control blood sugar levels. A combination of proper medication, healthy diet and adequate exercise can significantly affect how the body metabolizes body fat and utilizes insulin. Various benefits can be achieved from performing physical activities for diabetics, therefore if you want to decrease the severity or reduce the long-term complications of diabetes, diabetic exercises should be pursued.
Most professional diabetic specialists usually prescribe lifestyle modification and medical management to control diabetes. Although medical management can greatly affect how the body uses up glucose in the body, lifestyle changes such as proper exercise for diabetics can also decrease the severity of the disease. Pursuing a prescribed diabetic exercise regimen has its benefits and risks therefore you need to be aware of certain facts related to physical activities performed by diabetics.
Before a diabetic exercise program can be prescribed by a specialist on diabetes, a careful and systematic medical exam needs to be performed on the patient. This is in accordance with the guidelines of the American Diabetes Association. The examination is done to rule out any risk for coronary artery diseases and to ensure that the patient’s blood glucose levels are adequate to start a diabetic exercise regimen. A diabetic may be prescribed to perform routine exercise for diabetics if:
* Blood glucose level is not greater than 250 mg/dl
* Coronary conditions such as aneurysms, angina and embolisms are not present
* Damage to the kidneys, blood vessels of the eyes, nerves and blood vessels of the extremities is non-existing.
When a person with diabetes exercises, there is a need for energy in the form of glucose to be consumed by the working muscles. Physical activities that are short, such as a swift dash to catch a bus can stimulate the liver to release glucose for fuel. Moderate diabetic exercises on the other hand can decrease blood sugar levels by using up more glucose that is stored in the muscles or released by the liver. However, strenuous and prolonged exercises performed by diabetics can give the opposite effect. The body might recognize the activity as a stress and in turn will release stress hormones that act to increase blood glucose to supply the body with energy. This is the reason why some people still need insulin even after working out intensely on diabetic exercises.
Not all types of diabetic exercises can be performed be every patient though. Exercise for diabetics are classified into three different routines, according to the type of activity involved, intensity and duration for routines, area of the body being worked on and purpose for each type of exercise:
1. Aerobic Exercises for Diabetics
This type of diabetic exercise may include a brisk walk, dancing, swimming, and other low-impact exercises such as stationary walking or cycling. People with type 2 diabetes can greatly benefit from these kinds of physical activities since these can promote management of the weight. The intention for this type of exercise is to increase the heart rate, work on muscles and improve the breathing capacity of the lungs. Aerobic exercises for diabetics are usually performed 30 minutes to an hour for five days a week. Keep in mind though that if you have been inactive, you should start off slowly and gradually increase one factor (intensity of exercise, frequency of routines, and days performed in a week) at a time. Do not start an intense routine since aerobic exercises are intended to be performed moderately.
2. Strength Training for Diabetics
People without any complications from diabetes can perform strength training exercises to increase the glucose uptake of the muscles thereby reducing blood sugar and promoting weight control. Be sure to see a physician first before you enroll in any strength training sessions using elastic bands, weights, or plastic tubes. 8-10 repetitions of a set of exercise targeting specific muscle groups is recommended to be performed two times a week or whichever is prescribed by your diabetic specialist.
3. Flexibility Exercises for Diabetics
Keeping your body flexible is important so that you will avoid any injury that may result from other exercises recommended for the diabetic patient. 5-10 minutes of simple stretching before and after each exercise routine can greatly help in keeping the joints flexible and preparing your body for an aerobic or strengthening exercise.
Medications can control your blood glucose level but if paired up with proper exercise, a better result can be achieved. Beginning an exercise routine can be a daunting task but you might be able to motivate yourself into pursuing this lifestyle modification by checking your blood glucose level before and after performing these exercises.
The benefits of performing recommended exercise for diabetics are tremendous and life-changing therefore it is crucial that you start a diabetic exercise routine today.
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