Six ways exercise can help combat diabetes
At its core, diabetes is a metabolism disorder that prevents the body from digesting food and distributing energy properly. One way to ensure you're doing your part to help the body control and manage diabetes is through exercising. Beyond its obvious benefits--maintaining a healthy weight, for one--exercising also reduces the likelihood of developing associated diabetes complications.
Make an exercise plan and follow it
Starting an exercise regimen is difficult, particularly for those who are not used to regular exercise. The secret is to start with small steps and set achievable goals. Start with simple things that you can do on your own or with a buddy. Walking is an excellent way to start. If you can start walking 30 minutes a day, a minimum of five days per week, you will begin to see the benefits very quickly. Start slowly: if 30 minutes at a time is too much, take three 10 minute walks during the day.
How exercise positively affects diabetes
Here are six things that can occur when you make this simple change in lifestyle:
- Increase metabolism (burning extra calories and using glucose)
- Improve response to insulin
- Improve ability to lose weight and keep it off
- Improve circulation
- Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
- Reduce risk of heart attack and stroke
Exercise safety precautions
Always consult your physician before beginning an exercise regimen, or before changing your routine significantly. Warm up with stretching exercises before you begin any exercise. This helps prevent muscle strain and cramps. Check your blood sugar levels before and after exercising, and watch for the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Keep a high-glucose snack with you to counteract low blood sugar.
American Diabetes Association, http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/fitness-management/
Diabetes Care, http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/suppl_1/s64.full
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