Diabetes is a debilitating disease that affects millions of people across the world. It is a lifelong disease that disrupts the way your body uses insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease, which means it has a lot to do with how you lead your life. Also, the possibility of developing the disease increases if you lead a sedentary life. In fact, lack of physical activity, eating an unhealthy diet and obesity are some of the common factors that lead to the onset of the disease. This is the reason why it is crucial to exercise to stay fit if you have diabetes. But how much exercise is safe for diabetics?
Health Shots got in touch with Dr Manan Vora, a Sports Medicine Expert and Orthopaedic Surgeon to know the benefits of exercising for diabetes.
Is exercise safe for people with diabetes?
Not only is it safe, but it is also recommended for diabetics to perform aerobic exercise daily, says Dr Vora. The benefits of exercise for people with diabetes can’t be overstated. “Exercise will help lower your blood glucose level and improve your insulin sensitivity, countering insulting resistance. It will also help lower the risk of heart disease and nerve damage,” adds the expert. While it is considered safe for diabetics to exercise, there are a few things they should keep in mind to avoid injuries or other complications.
1. Consider exercising one to three hours after eating, when your blood sugar level is likely to be higher.
2. Test your blood sugar before exercising if you use insulin. If the level is below 100 mg/dL, eating something to avoid hypoglycemia would help.
3. Don’t exercise if your blood sugar is too high (over 250), because exercise can sometimes raise blood sugar even higher.
How much exercise is enough for diabetics?
Dr Vora recommends doing at least 150 minutes of exercise per week for someone suffering from diabetes. “Exercising 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week is ideal. This exercise should be of moderate level intensity. The idea is to get your heart rate to go up for a sustained period of time.” However, make sure you do not exhaust yourself. Talk to your doctor if you notice any changes in your blood sugar levels while exercising.
Which exercise should you choose?
As mentioned above, exercising regularly can help you keep your blood sugar levels in check. Studies have shown that exercising also helps avoid the onset of diabetes in people with prediabetes. Having said that, you should start gradually and build your personal goals according to your needs. Dr Vora asserts, “The idea is to do something you enjoy, if you enjoy a particular activity, chances are you will do it the next day, and the day after that. It could be a walk, a run, a swim, lifting weights, dance lessons, or a bike ride. The type of activity or exercise doesn’t matter as much as actually going out and doing it, and doing it regularly. No excuse should stop you from making this a part of your routine.”