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Diabetes and Exercise – A Perfect Match

Everyone knows exercise is healthy, and it’s hugely important that anyone living with any type of diabetes include exercise in their daily routine.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends healthy adults engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each week, plus at least two muscle-strengthening movements. 

That can sound like a lot of cardiovascular activity, but when you break it down, it’s only about 20 minutes per day or 30 minutes 5 days a week. And it doesn’t have to be 20 or 30 consecutive minutes, it can be 5 minutes here and there. 

It also doesn’t have to happen in a gym. It can be a combination of cardiovascular activity like brisk walking, biking, jogging, dancing, or any other activity that gets your heart rate up, combined with muscle-strengthening activities, such as bodyweight movements or resistance training with weights, resistance bands, or other equipment.

Prediabetes and exercise

If you live with prediabetes, your doctor has diagnosed you with elevated blood sugar levels, but you have not yet developed type 2 diabetes. Exercise can be a great tool to significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), lifestyle changes including 150 minutes of weekly exercise and weight loss of 5-7 percent can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost 60 percent

Type 2 diabetes and exercise

If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, adding exercise to your daily routine can help lower your blood sugars both during and after exercise. For some, a combination of exercise, weight management, and other lifestyle choices can reduce overall blood sugar levels so much that your doctor can reduce or even discontinue your diabetes medication.

Type 1 diabetes and exercise  

According to the ADA 2019 Standards of Care, exercise is just as important for people living with type 1 diabetes as it is for the general population. Although there’s no cure for type 1 diabetes, exercise can help improve how well your body utilizes insulin, which for many people makes it easier to achieve the blood sugars levels they are aiming for. 

Precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of low blood sugars during and after cardiovascular exercise by adjusting insulin or carbohydrate intake.

Regardless of whether you live with diabetes or not, exercise can be fun, and a great way to unwind and improve your overall well-being. And remember, any amount of exercise is better than no exercise!

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