Best Exercises for Diabetes and Manage Blood Sugar Levels

Best Exercises for Diabetes and Manage Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes is a silent lifestyle disorder that needs to be controlled and prevented. Most people believe that you can only control diabetes by changing your dietary habits. At the same time, some believe that only medication can help. However, not many would know that you can prevent and manage or regulate diabetes with physical exercises. Physical exercise or workouts, be it of any sort, is critical in managing diabetes. You can indulge in various forms of physical activities. What are the different  types of workouts you can do to manage diabetes?

What Does Research Suggest? 

Harvard research points out various data points to showcase the importance of exercise in diabetes management. 

  • People with diabetes who walked at least two hours a week had a reduced risk of dying from heart disease than those who did not. In addition, those who exercised three to four hours a week had  further decreased risk.
  • Women with diabetes who spent at least four hours a week doing moderate exercise (including walking) or vigorous activity had a 40% lower risk of developing heart disease than those who didn’t exercise. Surprisingly, these benefits persisted even after researchers adjusted for confounding factors, including BMI, smoking, and other heart disease risk factors.
  • All types of exercise- aerobic, resistance or a combination of both (combined training) were equally effective in decreasing HbA1c levels in people with diabetes. Furthermore, combining the two types of exercise proved more beneficial than doing either one alone. Hba1c is the most practical measuring factor in diabetes. It’s a blood serum test that you take every three months. It is very effective in diabetes measurement.
  • Strength training and aerobic exercise helped improve insulin resistance in previously sedentary elderly persons with abdominal obesity – indicated as people at risk for diabetes. 

Which Exercises are the Best?

Walking

Besides being popular and simple, walking also brings in several health benefits.  Walking is one of the most effective forms of exercise for glycemic control. However, unlike many activities you can do at home, it is best to walk outside in the open air if you have access to a good walking route. It is even better to walk in the open air if the air is clean (inside exercise is recommended when pollution levels are harmful), and the weather is nice.

Duration (time) and intensity (effort or speed) are the two most significant aspects of walking. Begin at a comfortable pace, one that does not exhaust you at the end, and gradually increase the duration. In addition, gradually increase your speed once you’ve reached the maximum possible time that your schedule allows. Besides diabetes management, you will burn a good amount of calories as well.

To stay motivated, establish daily/weekly goals on your smartwatch/phone and make it a point to reach them.

Swimming

Swimming is a great exercise that provides you with a combination of benefits from multiple activities. For example, swimming offers you the benefits of aerobic, resistance, and flexibility training while also reducing joint strain. It gives a full-body workout by simultaneously exercising, practically all of its major muscles. 

Before beginning to swim, seek medical counsel and permission from your doctor, if you are over 30 years old, have repeated episodes of low blood sugar/uncontrolled blood pressure, or have diabetes problems. Always let the trainer or lifeguard know if you have diabetes before you begin swimming.

Dancing

It is one of the most pleasurable approaches to a workout. To assist your heart, lower your blood sugar, relieve stress, and burn calories, simply shake your groove thing for 20-30 minutes, three times a week.  

The dance will keep you moving and grooving while improving your fitness, insulin sensitivity, and blood glucose levels. It can even help you lose weight by raising your metabolism . Dancing is the best workout for you if you appreciate music and love moving to the beat.

Rope Jumps

Although the childhood game we all enjoyed may not appear to be an exercise to prevent diabetes, it is a high-energy, high-intensity activity. Jumping rope burns calories, increases muscle mass and endurance, raises your heart rate and is fun. In addition, it helps people with diabetes maintain their blood sugar levels while lowering their blood pressure and cholesterol. You can jump rope inside, outside, and with friends to create your routine.

Yoga

Yoga is an excellent option if you want a form of exercise that aligns your mind and body. It does not put undue pressure on your joints and leave you gasping and puffing. Classical yoga forms are performed in a flow and they gradually build up your stamina. It means they don’t cause your heart to beat quicker or your body to consume more oxygen. On the other hand, if you really want, you can turn your yoga into a cardio workout by performing the asanas at a fast pace. However, don’t do it mindlessly and without the assistance of a  yoga coach.

Research links Yoga to changes in biochemical, electrophysiological, cellular, genetic, neuromuscular, and radiological parameters. Though it is traditionally a mind-body practice with the ultimate objective of achieving spiritual enlightenment, yoga currently is used to treat a wide range of diseases, and it is therapeutically a holistic measure. Yoga also regulates cravings and eating patterns, and consistent practice helps address eating disorders.

Best Yoga Poses for Diabetes Management

Yoga is a multifaceted intervention that includes cleaning procedures (kriya), postures (asana), controlled breathing (pranayama), meditation, relaxation, chanting mantras, yogic food, code of behaviour, philosophy, and spirituality. In addition, many yoga forms help manage type-2 diabetes. However, experts only recommend them after a thorough examination of a patient’s overall health, unique needs, risk factors, and contraindications.

Ardha Matsyendrasana 

It is one of the most effective poses for controlling diabetes. The asana improves the function of the liver, pancreas, and spleen, among other organs. As a result, the asana makes it easier for the body to produce more insulin. Furthermore, it aids digestion and eliminates toxins from the body.

  • Sit cross-legged on your mat.
  • Place the right hand on the left knee while you twist your body to the left side.
  • Twist from the base of your spine and extend your shoulders
  • Maintain this position for as long as you can while inhaling normally. 
  • Once you come to the final pose, exhale. 
  • Then, return to the beginning posture and repeat the asana on the other side.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

The Bow posture is essential for strengthening and regulating the pancreas, which aids patients with high blood sugar levels. It also stretches the abdominal muscles, improves digestion, relieves constipation, reduces stomach cramps, addresses back problems, and relieves sinus, cough, and cold symptoms.

  • Lie flat on your stomach with your legs and body raised backwards. 
  • Now, extend your arms backwards and grab both feet with your hands. 
  • Maintain this position for as long as you can while inhaling normally. 
  • Then, return to the beginning posture and repeat the asana 5–6 times more.

Vrikshasana

It enables stimulating the hormonal secretion of the pancreas. To perform this asana: 

  • Stand tall and straight with arms by the side of your body
  • Elongate your torso
  • Bend your right knee and place the right foot on your left thigh, high up
  • Get your balance and ensure that your left leg is straight
  • The sole of your foot placed firmly near the starting point of the thigh
  • Once you are in the position, look ahead and raise your hands over your head from the sides. End in a ‘ Namaste’ position by bringing your palms together
  • Look ahead and focus on a point and increase the duration of your stay
  • Repeat the other side after you come to your original position with a deep exhalation

Halasana

This yoga pose stimulates the pancreas and spleen and prompts the immune gadget correctly through massaging all the internal organs. Also, it improves kidney and liver functioning. At the same time, it strengthens the stomach muscle organisation and rejuvenates the mind. To function Halasana:

  1. You lie on your back with your hands beside you, arms downwards. 
  2. While inhaling, you want to use your stomach muscle mass to raise your feet off the floor. 
  3. Lift your hips off the floor supporting your lower and mid-back and roll back supported by your shoulder
  4. Stack your hips over your shoulders
  5. Then lower your legs backwards over your head until your toes reach the ground.
  6. Moreover, you may keep this pose and let your physique loosen up properly with each constant breath.

Surya Namaskar and Sun Salutation

It is one of the most popular yoga poses, and Yoga lovers practise it regularly. It is perfect even for diabetes as it is a whole-body exercise. Doing this for just about 15 minutes every morning can make a massive difference by increasing the body’s metabolism rate.

Yoga is one of the great types of workout, and it helps to deal with various kinds of illness. If suffering from diabetes, you may additionally attempt practising all the asanas for diabetes cited above in the article to stay healthful and fit. 

Kapalbhati Pranayam

Pranayama sequence involves respiration. Kapalbhati Pranayama is a respiratory exercise that helps in improving the effectiveness of the pancreas. As a result, it encourages your body to secrete insulin to keep blood glucose levels stable. 

  • First, sit in a comfortable position. 
  • Next, place your hands on the tops of your kneecaps. 
  • Next, fill your lungs with air by deep inhaling through your nostrils. 
  • Then, put your hand on your stomach and exhale by pushing the stomach wall in the direction of the spine.

Chakrasana (Wheel Pose) 

It is any other advantageous yoga for diabetes control. You have to bend backwards and contact the floor with your palm in this pose. This asana helps in stretching your backbone and relaxes it. Regular practising the wheel pose helps lower stress and calm down your mind. It strengthens the pancreas, encouraging insulin secretion to keep blood sugar levels in check. Along with this, it also improves the fitness of your kidney and liver. These are at excessive risk of diabetes complications.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

It is an effortless yoga pose that desires the exceptional approach to radically exchanging your physique and mind. It helps improve concentration, makes the electricity of your knees larger and promotes flexibility of your spines. In addition, mountain pose creates higher residence inside your body and allows the organs to work higher efficiently. Therefore, it helps enhance blood circulation and promotes insulin sensitivity to manage your blood sugar levels.

Mandukasana (Frog Pose)

It is one of the fantastic Yoga poses for people with diabetes. It helps in stretching the pancreas to promote the launch of insulin. Also, it encourages excellent digestive health and improves the function of the different glands in your body. If you have backache, ankle injuries, hypertension, migraine, or insomnia, you need to avoid this pose.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) 

The corpse pose is the resting posture that lets the physique cool down and calms the straying mind. It marks the cease of the yoga session. This asana is helpful for diabetes, excessive blood pressure, cardiac abnormalities, and respiratory woes. Doing it at the end of the yoga session helps you calm and relaxes your muscles.

  • Lie down on your back and shut your eyes. 
  • Relax your body and mind, and dive into happy peaceable thoughts. 
  • Take your time whilst you do this. 
  • Breathe normally and observe your breathing. 
  • Let the thoughts come in and go. 
  • You become an observer of your mind and body and get restored to take on more.

Precautions and Complications in Exercises

People with diabetes are at a greater risk of heart and blood vessel illness and foot problems, and you must do the correct kind of exercise.

Hypoglycemia is dangerous for persons with type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes who use insulin or certain glucose-lowering drugs. If you’re not sure of the impact of the medication you’re taking, talk to your doctor before you start exercising or following a specific diet plan. 

  • Make sure you have a customised diabetes management plan – your diabetes health care provider can assist you with this.
  • If you’ve never exercised before, start with a low-impact activity like walking and work your way up. It will aid in the development of exercise tolerance. You’ll also be more likely to maintain a regular fitness routine and avoid injuries.
  • Consider consulting with an exercise physiologist for a customised fitness plan. In addition, this is especially beneficial if you are in pain or have limited mobility.
  • Consult your doctor or a diabetes educator about the best places to inject your insulin, especially during exercise.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can diabetes be cured by exercise?

A. Though diabetes cannot be cured completely by exercise alone, combining aerobic (also known as cardiovascular) exercise with strength training improves insulin health significantly. Resistance, or strength, exercise should be done at least two or three times a week, preferably on nonconsecutive days. 

Q. What exercises should diabetics avoid?

A. High-resistance weight training for people with diabetes over 50 may not be appropriate. However, people with diabetes can benefit from moderate weight-training programmes. Make sure to include gradual warm-up and cool-down periods (5 to 10 minutes each). Low-intensity aerobic activity is good for the warm-up and cool downs. Stretching the muscles – dynamic stretchings before  the workout and static stretchings after the workout –  is also recommended..

Q. How much exercise does a diabetic need?

A. A minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 days a week is required to help  assist your body’s insulin to function better. We’re talking about a workout that gets your heart and lungs pumping and your blood flowing more freely. Start with 5 to 10 minutes of exercise every day if you haven’t been active in a while, and gradually increase your time. Before you begin, consult your doctor.

Q. Can walking reverse diabetes? 

A. Though reversing the diabetes with walking alone may not be possible, research has proven that strolling after a meal can definitely be beneficial in bringing down blood glucose levels and enhancing diabetes control. So people with different kinds of diabetes, such as type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes, can benefit from reduced glucose levels following a period of walking. 

Q. Is it true that drinking water lowers blood sugar levels?

A. Drinking water helps to rehydrate the blood when the physique tries to eliminate excess glucose through urine. The bodies of human beings with diabetes require extra fluid when blood glucose levels are high, as this can lead to the kidneys attempting to excrete extra sugar through urine. Water does not boost blood glucose levels, so it is good to drink when a person has high blood sugar because it allows additional glucose to flush out of the body. Otherwise, the body may additionally draw on other sources of reachable water, such as saliva and tears. 

Q. Should diabetics exercise after dinner?

A. According to the study, those with diabetes who engaged in basic physical activities after eating had blood sugar levels similar to those without diabetes. Blood sugar levels were higher in those who stayed inactive after meals. You don’t need to perform a lot of exercises. People with type 1 diabetes can improve their blood sugar control by just walking the dog or doing the dishes after a meal instead of going directly from the table to the TV. Physical activity improves insulin action, resulting in lower blood glucose levels.

Q. Can diabetics eat dates?

A. Diabetics, according to specialists, can benefit from dates’ high fibre content. People with diabetes can eat  two-three dates per day as long as they exercise caution and maintain overall healthy eating habits.  

Q. Does diabetes cause hair loss?

A. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to dangerously high blood sugar levels. Blood sugar stages that are persistently high can cause harm to the body’s tissues, organs, and blood vessels. For example, blood vessel injury can limit blood flow, ensuing in cells receiving less oxygen and nutrients than they require. In addition, this deficit can wreak havoc on the hair follicles’ normal growth cycle, resulting in hair loss.

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