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Diabetes and Exercise

Plan Your Diabetic-Friendly Exercise Routine

Plan Your Diabetic-Friendly Exercise Routine

It’s All in the Mind

We often make promises to ourselves that begin with the purest of intentions to see through to completion, but for one reason or another we often end up not exactly fulfilling or maintain consistency in our plan of action.  A New Year’s resolution would be a prime example of this, usually entailing something along the lines of weight-loss, diet, or increased physical activity.    So why is it that we constantly need to re-affirm these goals so adamantly only to find ourselves coming up short on our intended results?

Well it may sound a bit cliché, but it’s actually all in the mind as it were, specifically perception, the way we look at any given thing can make or break our most ambitious of plans.  The mind is an infinitely complex labyrinth still holding many mysteries, but it can also be your most powerful asset, simply by learning how to shape the way you think about things.  Even the suggestive power of language can help shape our thoughts and merely changing a few words and the images they conjure up can be a great way to begin in your journey into a healthy lifestyle and fitness discipline.

Diabetes-Friendly Exercise

Mix it Up!

There has always been a debate about what is more beneficial, cardio or weight training?  I tend to believe that they both possess great benefits in different aspects for your health, strength, and endurance so a varied approach is optimal.   Studies have shown that normally sedentary people with type 2 diabetes who engaged in a mixture of aerobic (cardio) and resistance training (weight lifting) tended to have lower blood sugar levels after 9 months than those that only focused on one type of training in the same amount of time.

 Resistance Training (Weight Lifting)

Weight Training

While cardio workouts strengthen the heart muscle and all it’s supportive tissues and organs, strength training or weight lifting builds the muscles you utilize during the act of lifting.  These muscles include but are not limited to abdominals, legs, arms, and chest and tend to utilize sugar in the form of glucose more efficiently, which can lead to improved blood sugar control and lowered insulin resistance.  Also, resistance training has been known to control high blood sugars by increasing your metabolic rate (your metabolism) for days after the workout, even while you sleep (which is  just as important for recovery).

So while you don’t need to reach fitness model levels of fitness, consistency and moderation can improve strength and blood sugar over time.  Be mindful of your form while lifting weights as improper techniques can lead to sometimes serious injuries.  If you are just starting out always start slow with low weights to develop proper posture while executing your lifts.  Visit your local gym for classes or even a personal trainer to teach you how to perform some basic moves and work out efficiently with weights.

Cardio Training

Aerobic Training (Cardio)

It is not necessary to utilize a treadmill to get a great cardio workout, so long as you can get your heart-rate up to 60-80% your maximum heart-rate you will usually “work-up a sweat” and reap the benefits of a stronger cardiovascular system.  Remember to always consult your healthcare service provider to determine a safe heart-rate zone to get up to, since endurance levels can vary greatly from person to person based on their medical history.  A general rule of thumb I’ve always used though is to estimate your target heart rate at 220 minus your current age for a basic approximation.  Don’t feel the need to join a gym either, many activities can get your heart-rate going either at home or nearby.  Things like walking the dog, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking at the far end of the lot can help promote physical activity throughout the day.


While maintaining your custom fitness regimen, don’t forget to frequently keep your eye on your blood glucose levels as beginning an exercise routine can cause hypoglycemia.  Sometimes adjusting with more frequent snacking and dosage in medication is necessary to compensate for the added energy consumption throughout your day.  Always play it safe, stay healthy!

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