Points to Remember
Starting a physical activity program can help you lose weight or keep a healthy weight and keep your blood glucose levels on target.
How can physical activity help me take care of my diabetes?
Physical activity and keeping a healthy weight can help you take care of your diabetes and prevent diabetes problems. Physical activity helps your blood sugar stay in your target range.
Physical activity also helps the hormone insulin absorb glucose into all your body’s cells, including your muscles, for energy. Muscles use glucose better than fat does. Building and using muscle through physical activity can help prevent high blood glucose. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or if the insulin doesn’t work the way it should, the body’s cells don’t use glucose. Your blood glucose levels then get too high, causing diabetes.
Starting a physical activity program can help you lose weight or keep a healthy weight and keep your blood glucose levels on target. Even without reaching a healthy weight, just a 10 or 15 pound weight loss makes a difference in reducing the risk of diabetes problems.
What should I do before I start a physical activity program?
Before you start a physical activity program, you should
What kinds of physical activity can help me?
Many kinds of physical activity can help you take care of your diabetes. Even small amounts of physical activity can help. You can measure your physical activity level by how much effort you use.
Doctors suggest that you aim for 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week. Children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes who are 10 to 17 years old should aim for 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day.
Your health care team can tell you more about what kind of physical activity is best for you. They can also tell you when and how much you can increase your physical activity level.
Light physical activity. Light activity is easy. Your physical activity level is light if you
Moderate physical activity. Moderate activity feels somewhat hard. Your physical activity level is moderate if you
Vigorous physical activity. Vigorous, or intense, activity feels hard. Your physical activity level is vigorous if you
Not all physical activity has to take place at the same time. You might take a walk for 20 minutes, lift hand weights for 10 minutes, and walk up and down the stairs for 5 minutes.
Breaking the physical activity into different groups can help. You can
Do Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise is activity that uses large muscles, makes your heart beat faster, and makes you breathe harder. Doing moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day most days of the week provides many benefits. You can even split up these minutes into several parts.
Talk with your health care team about how to warm up and cool down before and after you exercise. Start slowly, with 5 to 10 minutes a day, and add a little more time each week. Try
Do Strength Training to Build Muscle
Strength training is a light to moderate physical activity that builds muscle and keeps your bones healthy. When you have more muscle and less fat, you’ll burn more calories because muscle burns more calories than fat, even between exercise sessions. Burning more calories can help you lose and keep off weight.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, you can do strength training with hand weights, elastic bands, or weight machines two to three times a week. You can do strength training at home, at a fitness center, or in a class. Start with a light weight and slowly increase the size of your weights as your muscles become stronger.
Do Stretching Exercises
Stretching exercises are a light to moderate physical activity that both men and women can do. For example, yoga is a type of stretching that focuses on your breathing and helps you relax. Your health care team can suggest whether yoga is right for you.
Even if you have problems moving or balancing, certain types of yoga can help. For example, chair yoga has stretches you can do when sitting in a chair. When you stretch, you increase your flexibility, lower your stress, and help prevent sore muscles.
Add Extra Activity to Your Daily Routine
Increase daily activity by spending less time watching TV or at the computer. Try these simple ways to add light, moderate, or vigorous physical activities in your life every day:
When is the best time of day for me to do physical activity?
Your health care team can help you decide the best time of day for you to do physical activity based on your daily schedule, healthy eating plan, and diabetes medicines.
If you have type 1 diabetes, try not to do vigorous physical activity when you have ketones in your blood or urine. Ketones are chemicals your body might make when your blood glucose levels are too high and your insulin level is too low. If you are physically active when you have ketones in your blood or urine, your blood glucose levels may go even higher.
Light or moderate physical activity can help lower blood glucose if you have type 2 diabetes and you don’t have ketones. Ketones are rare in people with type 2 diabetes. Ask your health care team whether you should be physically active when your blood glucose levels are high.