How Exercise Helps You Manage Diabetes

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Move It to Manage It.

November is National Diabetes Month – a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.  Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to manage your diabetes. It helps to lower your blood sugar levels, improve your insulin sensitivity, and reduce your risk of other complications, such as heart disease, stroke, and nerve damage.

How exercise lowers blood sugar levels.

When you exercise, your muscles use glucose for energy. This helps to lower the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. The effect of exercise on blood sugar levels can last for several hours after you finish exercising.

How exercise improves insulin sensitivity.

Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells to use glucose for energy. When you have diabetes, your cells may become resistant to insulin. This means that your body needs to produce more insulin to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity so that your cells can use insulin more effectively.

What types of exercise are best for people with diabetes?

The best types of exercise for people with diabetes are aerobic exercise and strength training. Aerobic exercise, such as walking, biking, and swimming, helps to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Strength training, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, helps to build muscle mass and improve insulin sensitivity.

How much exercise should people with diabetes do?

The American Diabetes Association recommends that adults with diabetes get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week. They also recommend that adults with diabetes do strength training exercises that work all major muscle groups on two days a week.

Tips for getting started with exercise.

If you have diabetes and are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of your workouts. It is also important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program. We can help you on your fitness journey. Visit the Member Services Desk to learn more about membership and specialty programming to help you get started.