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Exercise and diabetes: what you should know

Jan 13, 2021 4:12:19 PM / por Diabetrics Healthcare


Diabetes is a chronic disease that requires certain care to guarantee the well-being of those who present it, both in the short, medium, and long term. One of the main recommendations that specialists make after their diagnosis is the exercise, while it represents great benefits for the body, some of which we invite you to know here.

When the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (hormone that regulates blood sugar) or the body does not effectively use the insulin produced, diabetes appears, a metabolic condition that - if not controlled - leads to hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar), a condition capable of severely deteriorating various organs and systems of the human body over time.

To prevent this from happening, it is important for the patient with diabetes mellitus to take care of himself / herself, knowing that simple measures related to a healthy lifestyle have been shown to be effective in both the prevention and treatment of diabetes (especially type 2 diabetes (DM2)). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), to help prevent T2DM, delay its onset, or prevent its complications, people should:

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Staying physically active: 150 minutes of regular activity (exercise) of moderate intensity per week.
  • Eat a healthy diet that avoids or minimizes the intake of sugar and saturated fat.
  • Avoid tobacco consumption, since it increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, among others.


Benefits of exercising

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) notes that exercise provides great benefits to the body, considering that it can:

  • Lower blood sugar level and blood pressure.
  • Lower the bad cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol level.
  • Improve the body's ability to use insulin.
  • Keep your heart and bones strong.
  • Keep the joints flexible.
  • Reduce the risk of falling.
  • Help you lose weight.
  • Reduce the amount of body fat.
  • Increase energy.
  • Reduce stress levels.


Types of exercise

In order to achieve holistic well-being and get your blood glucose (blood sugar) within the normal range (from 70 mg / dl to 100 mg / dl on an empty stomach), the NIH recommends several types of exercises that can represent a positive contribution to our general health:

  • aerobic exercises (walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, among others)
  • muscle strength exercises (with hand weights, elastic bands, or weight-lifting machines)
  • stretching exercises (increase flexibility and reduce stress)

On the other hand, simply including more physical activities - understanding these as all body movements produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure - in your daily routine is a first step to staying active and healthy. So, sedentary lifestyle aside, the calories you burn during the week could be more if you tried the following — or other healthy activities that interest you:

  • Walk around while talking on the phone
  • Play with the children
  • Take the dog for a walk
  • Get up to change the TV channel instead of using the remote control
  • Work in the garden or sweep the leaves on your patio or terrace
  • Clean the house; wash your car
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Stretch or walk during breaks, instead of going for food

Also note that "physical activity should not be confused with exercise," says the WHO. Exercise is defined as a variety of planned, structured, repetitive physical activity performed with a goal focused on improving or maintaining one or more components of physical fitness. Thus, physical activity encompasses not only exercise, but also other actions that involve body movement and are part of multiple moments of daily life: play, work, active forms of transportation, household chores and other recreational activities.


When should you exercise?

Each person has a different metabolism, which implies that the hours to perform the exercise depend, on the one hand, on the judgment of their treating physician and, on the other hand, on their own experience in developing their preferred exercise. Then, between you and the health professionals is the task of making the best decision regarding the time when you should practice this activity. In this regard, please note:

  • Your daily routine, because it is important to choose the time of day that best suits your needs and occupations.
  • Your mealtimes since food (especially carbohydrates) affects your blood sugar level.
  • When you take or apply your diabetes medicines (oral antidiabetics or insulin injected into the subcutaneous cell tissue, respectively), because these also affect your blood sugar level.Referencias


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) [PDF]. What you should know about physical activity and diabetes [published in August 2013; accessed March 19, 2020]. Available at: file: /// C: /Users/Usuario/Downloads/PhysicalActivity-SPAN_508.pdf

World Health Organization (WHO) [website]. Diabetes [published October 30, 2018; accessed March 19, 2020]. Available at:


Tags: Nutrition and Lifestyle

Diabetrics Healthcare

Publicado por Diabetrics Healthcare