Exercise is something that people tend to feel very differently on.
Some people absolutely love it. They find it invigorating and refreshing. Other people, however, despise exercising. They might find it boring, or they might simply find it too hard.
Regardless of how you feel about exercising, however, it is important, especially for people who suffer from diabetes or who are trying to reduce their risk of diabetes.
So, even if the thought of doing exercises fills you with dread, it’s important to come up with a plan to start moving more.
Why Exercise Matters for Diabetics
First of all, you should know that, if you don’t have diabetes, beginning to be physically active can keep you from ever developing it in the first place. There are several reasons for this.
To start with, regular exercise makes it easier to reach and/or maintain a healthy weight. And being at a healthy weight means that you are less likely to develop diabetes.
Also, physical activity can help to control and regulate blood sugar, also reducing your chances of being diagnosed with diabetes.
Exercising can be especially helpful if you are at a higher risk for developing diabetes and you want to “beat the odds” and keep the disease at bay. There are no guarantees, of course, but you have nothing to lose by exercising and a lot to gain.
On the other hand, if you already have diabetes, don’t use this as an excuse not to exercise. If anything, it should be a wakeup call that you do need to be more physically active. There are many benefits of exercise for diabetics.
When you get more physically active, you’ll have a much easier time controlling your blood sugar levels. This greatly reduces your risk of contracting serious secondary effects as a result of your diabetes, such as kidney disease or kidney failure, heart disease, and vision problems or blindness.
Exercising also helps to keep the heart healthy. A healthy heart is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for diabetics who are at an increased risk of having a heart attack or heart failure.
Then, of course, there are the many other benefits of exercise that everyone, diabetics and non-diabetics alike, enjoy, such as better control over one’s weight, improved energy, reduced stress, and better sleep. With so many benefits, why wouldn’t you want to exercise?
What Kind of Exercise Should You Do?
People often want a simple exercise definition, but really, exercise is anything you do that gets you active and moving. It can be something as formal as going for a run or taking a group exercise class or something as simple as cleaning your house or dancing around your living room. Any kind of exercise is good.
With that said, though, your best bet is to try and get an even mix of cardiovascular exercise, meaning exercise that gets your heart pumping, and strength training exercise, such as weightlifting. It’s recommended that you get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week, which only means 30 minutes a day five days a week.
That’s really not a lot of exercise, and it’s easy to get in if you find an activity that you actually like. If you love to walk, for example, commit to regular walks. You might even find that you can eventually progress to jogging and, from there, running. If you enjoy dance, take a dance class. Sign up for the local pool and swim laps, or power through workout DVDs in your living room. Whatever it is that you enjoy and will actually do, do it.
Also, don’t be afraid to change things up. A big reason that people stop exercising is because they get bored. If that happens to you, don’t stop exercising altogether; just change up what you’re doing This is a great way to try new things and to make sure that you stay active throughout your life.
In addition to the tips given above, develop a support system. Most people find that exercising is a lot easier when they don’t do it alone. Ask your friends to workout with you, or get your whole family involved. You’ll often find that exercise is a fun way to bond and to help those you care about to live healthier lives.
Finally, remember that exercise isn’t the only key to avoiding or controlling diabetes. You also have to watch what you eat, aiming to eat healthily and in correct portion sizes, and you have to live a healthy lifestyle in general. Just remember that if you treat your body with kindness, it will likely do the same for you.