Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience
Good-willed pieces of advice to exercise are commonly heard now, diabetes or no diabetes. Everyone, including healthcare professionals, cannot stop talking about the benefits of an active lifestyle. But how is it supposed to help with your diabetes?
There are multiple ways in which including physical activity in your routine can help you reverse diabetes as well as become healthier. Best results are achieved when you balance exercise with a healthy diet and timely intake of prescribed medications. Let us take a look at how exercising can help you manage diabetes better:
1. Improved Blood Glucose Control
Regular exercise increases insulin sensitivity, which leads to better use of insulin by the muscles, in turn leading to better absorption of glucose. Another way exercise helps control blood sugar is by letting contracted muscles use up glucose for energy, irrespective of insulin availability. Overall, exercise will result in better blood sugar levels, which means better diabetes control.
2. Weight Management
A vast number of diabetes cases, especially in India, are linked to excess body weight and even obesity. Burning some of that excess weight or fat off could result in better-managed diabetes, as well as cut down the risk of other lifestyle and weight-related conditions. The physical activity forms an important part of several weight reduction and management routines.
3. Reduced Risk of Other Diabetes-related Complications
Diabetes, if not managed well, could lead to several other complications like chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, dental conditions, eye damage and even depression. The best way to stay away from such conditions is by engaging in an active lifestyle, which keeps your diabetes under control and avoids other complications from arising.
Stress is increasingly becoming a part of everyone’s life. But the conscious inclusion of any preferred physical activity can significantly lower stress levels. It improves blood circulation and promotes the intake of oxygen in the body. Also, the mere act of exercising leads you to focus on yourself for a while, taking your mind away from other problems and worries.
5. Mood Elevation
An effective exercise routine triggers the release of endorphins in the brain and the nervous system. These hormones can leave you feeling positive and euphoric and are also said to reduce pain. This effect can lead to an increase in self-esteem. A happier state of mind leads to a positive outlook which can help you stay on the track of diabetes reversal.
6. A healthier, stronger, happier you
Regular exercising helps strengthen your muscles, joints and bones. Better immunity keeps further health complications at bay. Engaging in physical activity acts as your ‘me-time’, where you can leave your worries behind and give yourself the priority.
Diabetes can easily become a condition which interferes with all aspects of your life. You can manage that by not letting it overpower you, with the right amount of discipline and motivation. Physical activity or exercise does not have to mean high-intensity workouts or CrossFit or heavy cardio. It is of utmost importance to listen to your body and let it find its pace. A mixed system where you plan your routine to include various activities of different intensities works best to keep you interested.
Also, if you have been in a sedentary lifestyle for a long time, it is advisable to consult your doctor about what you would like to do and start slow. You will experience benefits at every level of this positive change.