Exercise is important for everyone to maintain optimal health and wellness. But for the approximately 29.1 million people across the U.S. with diabetes, it is critical to manage their disease and its symptoms. In recognition of National Diabetes Month this month, learn more about the benefits of exercise for those impacted by diabetes as well as ways everyone can start incorporating more fitness into their lifestyle.
How Exercise Helps Manage Diabetes
- Improves insulin sensitivity – According to the American Diabetes Association, physical activity increases your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, improving its ability to control blood sugar.
- Lowers blood sugar – During exercise, your cells also remove glucose (separately from insulin), lowering your blood glucose levels and improving your A1C. This could potentially help reduce the medications you are taking to manage your diabetes.
- Helps maintain or improve overall health – Regular exercise can help you maintain or reach a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and provide many other benefits that go a long way toward more effectively managing diabetes.
How to Get Started with Exercise
Adding more physical activity to your routine is great for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when starting a new workout routine:
- Check with your doctor – It’s important to talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen to discuss potential limitations and ensure you start out safely.
- Start slow – Build up your physical activity a little bit at a time. If you start too quickly and do too much too soon, you could potentially cause an injury.
- Make it a priority – Exercise is critical to your health, so keep it at the top of your to-do list. You can even schedule it into your calendar to help ensure you make time for it each week.
Keep Your Health in Mind
While physical activity offers a wide variety of benefits for your health, if you have diabetes, there are also certain health considerations you should be mindful of when exercising:
- Have small, healthy snacks available in case your blood sugar drops while exercising.
- Wear appropriate footwear and clean socks each time you exercise to protect your feet.
- Carry identification with you that indicates you have diabetes in case you may need assistance or medical attention while exercising.
Making exercise a part of your lifestyle not only offers benefits to improve your health, but can also help you more effectively manage diabetes.
For Health Advocate Members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the coaching component of our Wellness Program, your Coach can help you create a plan to start and stick with a fitness routine.
Other Helpful Resources:
To learn more about how exercise and physical activity can benefit people with diabetes, please visit any of the websites below for additional information: