Importance Of Staying Active For People With Type 2 Diabetes
It’s no secret that most Americans need to eat less and move more. But for people with type 2 diabetes, an active lifestyle is especially important for staying healthy and controlling blood sugar levels.
“Regular physical activity has multiple, beneficial effects for people with diabetes,” according to Charles M. Clark, Jr., MD, former chair of the National Diabetes Education Program, (NDEP), a joint federal program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Physical activity is important because it helps the body use insulin more efficiently, improves blood flow to the heart and muscles, lowers blood pressure and increases HDL (good) cholesterol.”
Dr. Clark urges us to do things the way our grandparents did. “Walk or bike to the store, go dancing, or walk the dog. You don’t have to exercise in a formal way-- just move and have fun--everyday.”
How can you build physical activities into daily living? Get off the bus one or two stops early or park your car at the far end of the lot. Active chores count. Break your activities into 10- to 15-minute sessions. When you vacuum, work in the garden, or wash the car, you’re moving and burning calories. If you spend your days sitting at a desk, get up at least once every hour and walk briskly down the hall, or up and down a flight of stairs. You’ll feel energized and burn calories.
11 Tips For Staying Active for People with Type 2 Diabetes
1. Before beginning physical activity, ask your health care provider for guidance on exercising safely.
2. Buy a comfortable pair of shoes that fit well.
3. Check your feet everyday for cuts, blisters, or swelling.
4. Plan a time for physical activity, just like you would for eating and sleeping.
5. Test your blood sugar level before and after you exercise. Don’t exercise if it is higher than 250 mg/dL or if there are ketones in your urine.
6. If your blood sugar is below 120 mg/dl, eat a meal or snack before exercising and take a snack with you.
7. If you haven’t been physically active, start slowly, and gradually build up to the 30 minutes a day recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General.
8. Be aware of how your body responds to physical activity and if you feel faint or dizzy, talk to your health care provider.
9. Wear a medical identification bracelet or carry a card that says you have diabetes.
10. Stretching often is great for avoiding stiffness and feeling good.
11. Set goals for yourself, be consistent and, most of all, have fun.
For more information on diabetes, call the National Diabetes Education Program at 1-800-860-8747 or visit the program’s Web site at http://ndep.nih.gov. For more information on physical fitness and weight control call the Weight-control Information Network (WIN) at 1-877-946-4627.