People with diabetes can benefit immensely from creating a physical exercise regimen that will help them control their blood sugar levels and enhance their bodies’ insulin sensitivity. In patients with diabetes, all types of exercise, whether aerobic, resistance or both, are equally effective in decreasing HbA1c levels.
“Walking for just two hours a week reduces the chance of dying from heart disease in adults with diabetes compared to their sedentary counterparts.”
Dr. Abhijeet Mugalikar, M.B.B.S, M.D., F.Diab., Diabetes Specialist, Shri Samarth Diabetes and Dental Care Center, Latur, adds that individuals who exercised three to four hours a week reduced their risk even more.
Insulin resistance can be reduced by combining resistance training and aerobic exercise in older persons who have a sedentary lifestyle.
“Both strength training and aerobic exercise were found to help improve insulin resistance in previously inactive older persons with abdominal obesity who were at risk for diabetes.”
In fact, Dr. Mugalikar claims that combining the two types of exercise was more helpful.
The specialist also discusses the advantages of stretching and balance exercise for diabetics in their latter years. “Stretching improves flexibility by increasing range of motion around joints, whereas balance training can assist to minimize the risk of falls by improving balance and gait, especially in patients with diabetes who have peripheral neuropathy.”
According to Dr. Mugalikar, women with diabetes should spend at least four hours a week doing moderate exercise, such as walking or strenuous exercise, to reduce their risk of heart disease by 40% compared to those who do not exercise.
The American Diabetes Association‘s guidelines for diabetics are as follows:
Most diabetic adults should do 150 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity per week, spaced out across at least three days per week, with no more than two days without activity.
For younger and more physically fit people, shorter periods of vigorous-intensity or interval exercise (minimum 75 minutes per week) may be sufficient.
Children and adolescents with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should exercise for 60 minutes or more each day, with strenuous, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening exercises incorporated at least three times per week.
On non-consecutive days, those with diabetes should do 2–3 sessions of resistance exercise per week. For older persons with diabetes, flexibility and balance training are recommended 2–3 times per week.
Yoga and tai chi may be used to develop flexibility, muscular strength, and balance, depending on personal preferences.
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