Wondering why physical activity is so important?
Regular activity is a key part of managing diabetes, along with proper meal planning, taking medications as prescribed and stress management.
When you are active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin, so it can work more efficiently. During exercise, your cells also remove glucose from the blood using a mechanism totally separate from insulin.
Exercising consistently can lower blood glucose and improve your A1C. When you lower your A1C, you may be able to take fewer diabetes pills or less insulin.
And if you don’t have diabetes, exercise can help lower your risk for type 2.
Physical activity is also important for your overall wellbeing and can help with many other health conditions. Regular exercise:
You’ll see these benefits even if you haven't been very active before.
Aerobic exercise is important for managing diabetes, along with strength training. It helps your body use insulin better. It makes your heart and bones strong, relieves stress, improves blood circulation and reduces your risk for heart disease by lowering blood glucose and blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.
Examples of aerobic activities include:
The American Diabetes Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week—or a total of 150 minutes per week. Spread your activity out over at least 3 days during the week, and try not to go more than 2 days in a row without exercising.
If you haven't been very active recently, you can start out with 5 or 10 minutes a day. Then, increase your sessions by a few minutes each week. Over time, you'll see your fitness improve, and you'll find that you're able to do more.
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