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Exercise for diabetics

Regular exercise is very important if you wish to stay fit and in good shape, and it becomes all the more important and necessary if you are suffering from diabetes. Weight gain is one of the major factors affecting diabetes. Regular and appropriate exercise increases insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes and also helps to maintain a healthy weight thus being the best means for diabetes control. A diabetic stands the risk of various other conditions such as heart attack, kidney diseases, nerve problems, stroke etc. Following an exercise routine as per doctor’s advice and recommendation can be extremely beneficial; it eliminates most of these risk factors and future complications.

How exercising helps diabetes patients

  • Lowers blood sugar level
  • Lowers the risk of heart diseases
  • Maintains a healthy body weight
  • Reduces stress
  • Makes you energetic
  • Improves insulin sensitivity
  • Decreases the risk of stroke

Before you finalise an exercise schedule-
Although regular exercise is necessary and is one of the easiest and best ways to manage diabetes, consulting your physician before starting an exercise routine is very important. If you are suffering from diabetes and have not been doing any physical exercise for quite some time, do not suddenly take up a regime and go overboard; it can do more harm than benefit.

  • Warm up- Start with slow and easy activities and gradually increase the intensity and time.
  • Wear appropriate clothes and shoes. You must feel comfortable in your clothes and your shoes should support your feet.
  • Do not neglect any bruises, blisters or pain caused due to or while you are exercising.
  • Take care of your feet. Do not let them remain sweaty and damp for long. Cut your toe nails regularly; keep your feet clean and moisturised.

One of the major problems a diabetic who takes up exercising may face is that of hypoglycaemia. Exercising can cause the blood glucose levels to drop dangerously, and this can lead to hypoglycaemia. In such cases the patient might need to eat a snack before exercising or consult a doctor and regularly monitor glucose levels before, after and while exercising.

How to get started
Indulge in activities you like– To enjoy your fitness regime you need to take up activities you really  like to do for instance dancing, cycling, playing tennis etc.
Exercise in parts – Do not overexert yourself by exercising at a stretch for a long time. Suppose you go for a walk or jog in the morning, a dance class or a sports activity can be scheduled for the evening. The same can be followed if you do regular gym work-outs combined with a walk or any other activity.
Find a partner who will help you to keep going– Find an exercise partner, preferably someone fighting diabetes; it will help you stick to your routine.
Keep an account– Every time you exercise, keep a track of your blood glucose levels and the progress you make. It will help you to decide on the course of exercise for optimum results.

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