The Benefits of Exercise-Controlling Diabetes Through Lifestyle

Do I exercise today?  Why do I need to exercise?  I am feeling tired and I don’t have the time to exercise, so?  I take the bus/train to work, isn’t that enough exercise?

The questions could go on for the entire page.  The point is too many of us do not want to exercise and we have become experts at making excuses to Exercising by walking dog on the beachstay put in our cars, on our chairs, and in our beds, wasting away slowly and “dying” before we are pronounced dead.  Are you thinking about exercising now?  Are you a bit scared by what I said?  Are you asking me “what are the benefits of exercise?

The Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is all-round good for us.  This cannot be disputed.  We were created to move.  Diabetes and exercise are indeed friends.  We can control diabetes with our diet as well as an exercise program.  I know this is difficult for a lot of us to do, but it does not have to be long or difficult, it just needs to be on a regular basis.

Something happens to our cells when we exercise.  Our cells respond more to insulin when we exercise.  Glucose in the blood is also removed by our cells.  This happens when a person with diabetes exercises.  Are you still asking, “what are the benefits of exercise?”

Remember, the aim is to be on less medication and get our readings as close as possible to the normal range, until….We must continue to ask, “what are the benefits of exercise?” We must then take the necessary action now.  The end result is amazing!

Lower glucose reading and a host of bonuses:

  1. Stronger muscles
  2. Lower cholesterol
  3. Blood pressure will be lowered
  4. Joints become more flexibleExercise benefits, sleeping
  5. Better sleep
  6. Improves circulation and gives us a stronger heart
  7. Boost our energy
  8. Burns calories, so you may lose weight
  9. Decreases the risk of a heart disease
  10. Results in less stress, clearer minds and better mental health in general.

I do hope you are on board by now.  But let me share some more with you.  I am only encouraging moderate exercise at this point.  If persons with diabetes make the lifestyle change to do moderate exercise for an extended period of time (for life, smile), our blood sugar decreases because of the demand of the muscle to use up the glucose for energy.

Sneak It In

How can you say no to 30 minutes at home?  It could be a walk down the road to see a friend.  It could mean parking 20 minutes from your destination and walk to and fro.  Just make sure your car is in a safe place.  It could include using the restroom at the end of the building.

There are many ways we can sneak the movements into our new lifestyle.  Ten (10) minutes on an exercise bicycle will make a world of difference to your thigh, calf, and your heart.

Exercise and Blood Sugar

It is important that you bear in mind that exercise will lower your blood sugar.  Thirty (30) minutes of walking for 4 days a week will make a significant difference in how you feel and function.  Your energy will increase and you will be happier.  As you continue to make this a habit, just 30 minutes of walking per day, then your glucose reading is lower and your cholesterol too.

Your muscles will “keep a victory dance” as they will be stronger and able to do more in their drive to keep you healthy and flexible. The treadmill can be a good place to start your exercise routine.  You can use it anytime and in the comfort of your home.  You can also go at your own pace and build on that as you get stronger.

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Bit by Bit, it all Adds up

Here is the good news, you are not forced to do 30 minutes all at once.  If you are just starting out and this is difficult for you to do, go ahead and do 10 minutes first and then 2 more 10 minutes for the day.  Do what you can safely do without feeling too stressed and hurting yourself in the long run.

Diabetes did not happen overnight and you will not be able to fix it overnight either.  Let’s lay one block at a time and get it done for the rest of our lives.  Remember, it is a lifestyle change that I am pursuing and encouraging you to do the same.

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Your Motivation

Do you need a friend or family member to encourage you and motivate you on this journey?  Ask them to help.  Explain the benefits both of you will get in the end.  It is a win, win situation as they will benefit as well.  Go ahead, ask.

Ok, so you prefer to go alone?  I understand, but just be safe.  Do not “blast” the music in your ear, as you need to be aware of your surroundings.  It makes no sense to lower your glucose reading, and then to be lowered in a grave before you are able to enjoy the benefits of being diabetic free.  Just be safe, even when you have company.

Goals, Why?

Decide when you are going for a walk and for how long.  Write this on a pretty piece of paper and make it obvious to see.  Take out your clothes from the night before and place them in an obvious place.  This will make it easier for you to remember and it will be less to do in the morning.  It helps in taking away your “I don’t have the time” excuse.

Setting goals give us that extra push and purpose.  Go for it!  You can do it.

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  1. // Reply

    I completely agreed what you said about exercises. As a physical therapist, I have encountered a lot of patients who have diabetes and I prescribe them exercises like walking on the treadmill or stationary bicycle since it is very useful for reducing blood sugar. However, one must be cautious that if the person is taking Insulin injection, we cannot give him or her a lot of exercises since he might experience hypoglycemia. It is very important when exercising, they must bring small carbohydrate snacks with them in order to avoid hypoglycemia. But overall, I love that article.

    1. // Reply

      Saif, I can say “yes” to what you said about hypoglycemia. I am not on insulin and my blood sugar is more controlled than it has been in years, but, too much physical activities causes my blood sugar to fall quickly and makes me ill. Just yesterday I was doing some work on my patio and I had to take a break because my sugar fell too low for comfort. We were building a frame, so I was moving boards and screwing, cutting etc., and all that was just too much for me at the time. I have to take my blood glucose reading and then decide on the activity in which I will engage, the intensity and the length of time. More importantly, I have to listen to my body. Nice job Saif.

      1. // Reply

        That is great Josephine. You should always take care of your body. Even if some people don’t take insulin, they will still experience hypoglycemia after exercising for a long time. That’s why, if I have a patient who experiences this symptom, I will immediately give him some carbohydrate snacks like candies for example. In your case, if you experience this, make sure eat a little carbohydrates snack. It will definitely normalize your blood sugar, not necessarily increasing your blood sugar immensely. Hope this help.

        1. // Reply

          Yes,Saif, it helps and I do appreciate the suggestion. I am bad with candies, so I now make sure I have some crackers, if they are needed. I also found that eating fruits, even the dried ones are extremely useful if I get this way. I don’t encourage eating dried fruits, but I keep a little raisin and some sugar at work to make sure I never pass out because my blood glucose gets too low. Thanks million Saif and I wish you all the best. Do continue to share.

  2. // Reply

    What a great site you have and a great mission. I enjoyed your article on controlling diabetes with lifestyle changes, diet and exercise. I am a cab driver by trade but we do a significant amount of non-emergency medical transportation. Many of my clients are diabetic and you have given me an outlet to share relevant and helpful information with them, Thank You

  3. // Reply

    Great article Joshephine. Exercise is always an important part of any healthy lifestyle and can easily be fit into the day.

    Last summer when we took three of our grandkids sailing for three days you might think how can anyone exercise while living on a 26′ boat.

    Well, we would tie the kids to the boat and let them swim off the stern, we would also take turns swimming with them.

    Swimming is a great source of exercise that involves the muscles of the entire body and there is no stress to joints.

    Many communities have public swimming pools available where people can take advantage of this superb exercise.

    Here in Canada, there are even indoor public pools so we can swim year-round.

    There are always ways to fit exercise into your day if you make yourself and your health a priority.

    1. // Reply

      Deb., I am giving you the “Grandma of the Year Trophy.” Sounds like a lot of fun what you did with your grandchildren on the boat. Nothing can replace quality time with loved ones.

      I do agree that exercise is important for good health and swimming seems to top the list. I can appreciate what you said about joints not being stressed when swimming.

      Yesterday I returned to school and being the first day for the children in a long time, as an administrator, I walked the grounds to greet the staff and the students and to get a general feel of what was working and what we could adjust. Girl, after all the hours walking, I returned home with muscle and tendon aches. Here is the encouraging bit though, my blood pressure and blood sugar shouted for joy. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could swim across the compound? (smile)

      As usual, thanks, and all the best to you and your family. Stay safe.

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