A lot has been written about the importance of regular exercises for a diabetic. Most recommendations remain around a few kilometers of walk each day. Is this because that is enough, or is it more because this is all that most people are able to manage?
Most certainly - what exercises you need to take has dependence on your overall physique and age.
Walking is one of the most commonly recommended exercises for diabetics. A large percentage of people however, limit their exercises to 'at most' walking. This is however not good enough. Exercises must provide for - Strength, Suppleness and Stamina. Walking is also probably the easiest of the whole lot. All that you’ve got to do is, invest in a good pair of shoes and you’re all set!
2. Anaerobic Exercises
Diabetics need 'Anaerobic' Exercises. The term anaerobic means 'without oxygen'. Any exercise that consists of short exertion, high-intensity movement, is an anaerobic exercise. These include weight lifting, sprinting, and jumping. The high intensity of anaerobic exercise means that body is unable to utilize fat as an energy source and must instead rely on carbohydrate stored in the muscles, called glycogen.
If you’re out on a walk, try alternating your speed. Start off slow and after 15-20 minutes, pace up. If you intend to take your anaerobic level exercise regime to the next level, do not hit the field immediately. Keep in mind that hardcore anaerobic exercising requires you to prep yourself beforehand. Deep tissue massage, proper stretching, and myofascial release are part of the prep work that you need to do before getting started with hardcore anaerobic exercises.
3. Balancing Exercises
Patients with peripheral neuropathy often lose sensation in their feet and naturally, tend to develop issues with balancing and walking. They also are at a greater risk of developing foot ulceration and falls.
4. Incorporate physical activity in your routine
You might not like going to the gym or a Yoga class but did you know you could still stay active without doing any of that? Taking your dog out for a walk, playing catch with your kid, or even dancing is a good physical exercise. All you’ve got to do is, stay active. For diabetics, any type of physical activity is beneficial.
Exercising regularly helps increase body's insulin sensitivity, besides helping in cutting down fat and toning up muscles. Toned up muscles also help improve the insulin sensitivity. Diabetics who exercise regularly are 3 times more likely to maintain a good glucose level control.
How often should one exercise?
A single session (40 to 45 minutes) of moderate exercises can improve the body's sensitivity to insulin for 16 to 18 hours. This results in improved glucose control for a period of 24 to 48 hours. Effects of exercising also wear off within 60 to 72 hours.
So, exercise regularly - at least 5 times a week but, ideally, 7 times. And do include 'strength' exercises in your exercise routine. Finally, always review the exercise set to ensure the 3S’s - strength, suppleness, and stamina - are taken care off.