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Exercise To Prevent Diabetes
In case you haven’t heard: Exercise is really good for people with type 2 diabetes. It helps control blood sugar levels, increases energy levels, improves heart health, and promotes emotional well-being. Barring other medical complications, the majority of people with diabetes can and should exercise for diabetes control and for better overall health and well-being.
How Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar?
Exercise lowers blood sugar in two ways:
Not only does exercise lower blood sugar levels in the short term, but exercising over time also contributes to lower A1C levels over time.
How Important Is Exercise?
Leading a sedentary (or inactive) lifestyle is one of the major risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, and the high incidence of obesity and overweight among people with type 2 is also highly correlated with inactivity. Starting a workout program can lower body mass and consequently decrease the insulin resistance of type 2 diabetes; studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes who exercise regularly have better A1c profiles than those who don’t. Along with medical nutrition therapy, exercise is one of the first lines of defense in type 2 diabetes control.
In addition, exercise is a key tool in preventing one of the leading complications of type 2 diabetes—cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that regular activity lowers triglyceride levels and blood pressure.
How Much Exercise Do You Need?
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends the following physical activity for adults with type 2 diabetes for blood sugar benefits and overall health:
Make an appointment to see your doctor before starting an exercise program. If you have certain diabetic complications, like nerve damage, eye disease, and kidney disease, your doctor may recommend very specific ways to exercise.
Because exercise typically has a blood glucose lowering effect, if you are taking insulin or certain medications called sulfonylureas and glinides, you need to pay particular attention to their blood glucose levels before, during, and after exercise. Talk to your doctor about taking certain measures to prevent blood sugar emergencies. If you are not taking these medications, you do not need to worry about your blood sugar going too low due to exercise, but you can still test your blood sugar to learn how exercise impacts your body over time.
Once you’ve gotten approval to start a fitness program, follow these tips to stay safe while you exercise:
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