Studies demonstrate that as few as 39% of people with type 2 diabetes participate in regular physical activity. This is as compared with 58% of other people who’re lucky enough not to suffer from this debilitating disease. While it’s vital for everyone to engage in physical activity, it’s even more important for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes to exercise as this can help to increase insulin action and maintain blood sugar levels in check.
Exercise also assists you with losing weight and improving balance. This is significant because many people with type 2 diabetes are at risk for obesity and falls. Anyone over 40 who is afflicted with diabetes should include balance training as part of their weekly fitness routine, at least two to three days per week. These methods of exercises can be as simple as practising balancing on one leg at a time, or more complex like tai chi. Lower body and core resistance exercises also double as balance training.
When you suffer from type 2 diabetes, physical activity is a vital part of your treatment plan. It is also essential to have a healthy meal plan as well as maintain your blood glucose level through medications or insulin, if required. If you remain fit as well as active during your life, it will be possible for you to better manage your diabetes and maintain your blood glucose level in the correct range. Regulating your blood glucose level is crucial in order to prevent long-term complications, such as nerve pain and kidney disease.
Before you start with your exercise programme…
Before you start with your diabetes-friendly workout routine, there are a number of things that you should be doing. Here are some of them:
- Make a list of physical activities that you enjoy doing
There are loads of options when it comes to exercising which means that you don’t have to go to a gym in order to get a great workout. Think about an activity that you’ve always wanted to try or an activity that you enjoyed in the past. Some ideas are sports, dancing, yoga, walking as well as swimming. Anything activity that raises your heart rate counts.
- Get your doctor’s sign-off
Let your doctor know about what you want to do. This professional can ensure you’re ready for it. Your doctor will also check to see if it is necessary for you to change your meals, insulin, or diabetes medicines. Your doctor can also tell you if the time of day that you exercise matters.
- Check your blood sugar levels
Ask your doctor if you should check your blood sugar levels before you exercise. If you are planning to work out for a period of more than an hour, check your blood sugar levels at regular intervals during your workout so that you’ll know if you require a snack. Verify what your blood sugar levels are after every workout so that it is possible for you to adjust your blood sugar levels if needed.
With increasing levels of fitness, you can gradually increase the intensity and volume of your exercise programme. This is best done under the supervision of a qualified personal trainer. Here are some tips on how to do that.
- Increase the intensity of your aerobic workouts by increasing your heart rate from 50% to 70% to closer to 70% or slightly above. At this intermediate pace, you should be able to talk less easily, although you should not be struggling for breath.
- Increase the time of the workout from 30 to 45 minutes.
- Include intervals in your walking or running by striding out at a very increased pace for a one-minute interval in every five minutes for the length of the session.
- Gradually increase the weight load you lift in your weight-training programme as you get stronger. You should struggle to do that last lift of the third set. Don’t increase the number of sets or repetitions; just increase the weight you lift as you get stronger. You can vary the exercises but remember to work all major muscle groups.
- Add a third weight training session to your weekly programme, preferably on one of the aerobics days so that you maintain at least one day of complete rest.
- Be aware of niggling injuries of the joints, muscles, and tendons and don’t train through acute pain or persistent sub-acute pain. See your doctor. When weight training, be especially aware of shoulder impingement pain or discomfort in the rotator cuff, which can be an issue in older trainers. Go easy on the shoulder exercises if this gives you a warning.
- Every month, take 3 consecutive days off to allow the body to recover and rebuild.
If you are in the dark or confused about how you should exercise or eat, you should consult a qualified personal trainer to assist you, they will be able to guide and coach you in the right direction.