What are the benefits of exercise?
Regular exercise can lower your blood glucose—also called blood sugar, blood pressure, and bad cholesterol while increasing your good cholesterol. It improves your body’s ability to use insulin and contributes to weight loss which might allow you to decrease the amount of medication you need. Exercise also lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke. When you exercise regularly, you have more energy, less stress and a clearer mind.
How does exercise effect blood sugar?
In general, low- to moderate-intensity aerobic activities, such as walking or jogging, promote a decrease in blood sugar during the activity, while high-intensity aerobic or anaerobic activities, such as sprint running or sprint cycling, can cause a boost in blood sugar. Activities that combine some anaerobic and aerobic activities have been found to have the best effect on blood sugar levels.
How much exercise should you do?
According to the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) 2016 Physical Activity/Exercise and Diabetes Position Statement adults with diabetes should engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least 150 minutes per week. Physical activity should be spread out at least three days per week with no more than two consecutive days without exercise. In the absence of contraindications, adults with type 2 diabetes should do resistance training at least twice per week.
The ADA recommendations also call for three or more minutes of light activity, such as walking, leg extensions or overhead arm stretches, every 30 minutes during prolonged sedentary activities for improved blood sugar management, particularly for people with type 2 diabetes.
Sedentary activities involve prolonged sitting, such as sitting at a desk on the computer, sitting in a meeting or watching TV.
How should you prepare for exercise?
While there are many benefits associated with physical activity, there are potential risks as well. If you have never exercised, or it has been a long time since you last worked out, you should see your doctor before you start an exercise program. Your doctor
will give you information specific to your condition. For instance, if you have retinopathy, eye damage from diabetes you may be told to avoid exercises like weight lifting as this can cause further damage to the eye.