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Diabetes & Exercise: The Key Connection

Physical activity has always been an essential part of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. It not only helps control body weight but also promotes better blood glucose control, which is especially vital for people with diabetes. In recent years, diabetes and exercise have been closely related to each other in the medical field. In this blog post, we will explore the key connection between diabetes and exercise and the benefits of physical activity for people living with diabetes.

Improved Glucose Control:

Regular exercise is a powerful tool for managing blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. Physical activity helps our body's cells to use insulin more efficiently, thereby reducing blood sugar levels. According to various studies, a combination of aerobic and resistance exercises can improve blood glucose control among people with type 2 diabetes. However, people with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise to avoid any adverse effects of hypoglycemia.

Weight Management:

Obesity is one of the primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise helps to reduce body weight and body fat, thereby decreasing insulin resistance, and in turn, lowering blood glucose levels. Even moderate-intensity physical activity can improve body weight and glycemic control among people with diabetes. Exercise is also beneficial for people with diabetes who have a high risk of cardiovascular disease, as it helps to reduce heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Reduced Risk of Complications:

Diabetes can lead to severe complications like peripheral neuropathy, kidney disease, and heart failure. Exercise reduces the risk of these complications by improving insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels. It also improves blood flow to peripheral nerves and increases muscle strength, reducing the risk of peripheral neuropathy. Furthermore, exercise is also beneficial for people with diabetes who have a high risk of osteoporosis, as weight-bearing exercises improve bone health.

Improved Mental Health:

Many people with diabetes face emotional stress due to the condition's complexity, dietary restrictions, and medication requirements. Exercise releases endorphins that improve mood and reduce stress levels. Regular physical activity has also been shown to improve sleep, reduce anxiety and depression, and promote overall well-being. Physical activity in group settings can also provide a sense of community and support for people with diabetes.

How to Start:

If you have diabetes, consult your healthcare provider before starting any exercise plan. Your doctor can help you determine the right type and intensity of exercise that is safe and appropriate for you. Begin with a slow and gradual increase in physical activity, starting with low to moderate-intensity exercises like walking, cycling, or swimming. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, spread over at least three days. Don't forget to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and adjust medication or food intake as required.

Exercise is a beneficial tool for people with diabetes. It provides various health benefits, including improved glucose control, weight management, reduced risk of complications, and enhanced mental health. Regular activity should be an integral part of diabetes management, along with medication, healthy eating, and regular diabetes check-ups. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting an exercise regime and monitor your blood sugar levels during exercise to avoid complications. Start slow and gradually increase the intensity, and before you know it, you will be reaping the rewards of an active lifestyle.

Northeast Missouri Health Council, Partners for a lifetime of health

Medical, Dental, and Behavioral Clinics in Kirksville, Missouri, Macon, Missouri, Milan, Missouri, Memphis, Missouri, and Kahoka, Missouri. Visit our website to find the nearest clinic to you.



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