Diabetes is a debilitating disease that affects millions of people around the world. It’s 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 live your life. Also, the possibility of developing the disease increases if you lead a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, lack of physical activity, poor diet and obesity are some of the common factors that lead to the onset of the disease. This is why it is crucial to exercise to stay fit if you have diabetes. But how much exercise is safe for diabetics?
Health Shots reached out to sports medicine expert and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Manan Vora to learn about the benefits of exercise for diabetes.
Is exercise safe for people with diabetes?
Not only is it safe, but diabetics are also recommended to perform aerobic exercise daily, says Dr. Vora. The benefits of exercise for people with diabetes cannot be overstated. “Exercise will help lower your blood glucose levels and improve your insulin sensitivity, countering insulting resistance. It will also help reduce the risk of heart disease and nerve damage,” the expert adds. Although it is considered safe for diabetics to exercise, there are a few things they should keep in mind to avoid injury or other complications.
1. Consider exercising one to three hours after eating, when your blood sugar 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. Do not exercise if your blood sugar is too high (over 250), as exercise can sometimes raise blood sugar even more.
How much exercise is enough for diabetics?
Dr. Vora recommends at least 150 minutes of exercise per week for someone with diabetes. “Exercising 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week is ideal. This exercise should be of moderate intensity. The idea is to increase your heart rate for an extended period. However, be careful not to overwork yourself. Talk to your doctor if you notice changes in your blood sugar levels during exercise.
Which exercise to choose?
As mentioned above, exercising regularly can help control your blood sugar. Studies have shown that exercise also helps prevent the onset of diabetes in people with prediabetes. That said, you should start gradually and build your personal goals based on your needs. Dr Vora says: “The idea is to do something you love, if you love a particular activity, chances are you’ll do it the next day and the day after. It could be a walk, a run, a swim, weightlifting, dance class, or a bike ride. The type of activity or exercise doesn’t matter as much as getting out and doing it, and doing it regularly. No excuse should stop you from making it part of your routine.