Exercise is the most potent insulin sensitizer; exercise makes the insulin work better on the blood glucose and thus helps in better control of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the adult form of diabetes, body’s reduced sensitivity to insulin is the most important factor, therefore exercise helps big time (diabetes and exercise benefits)
There has been considerable research in this area, on the basis of which the ACSM and ADA have published a joint guideline on diabetes and exercise. Find below the summary of their recommendations
From the school yard, to adulthood, aerobic exercises are the most common form of exercise. Its omnipresence is an attribute of its simplicity. Aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming etc.
For diabetics also, brisk walking 30 minutes a day for five days a week (or more accurately 150 minutes/week divided over at least three days per week with no more than two consecutive days without exercise) helps control blood sugar and heart risk factors. If you have been sedentary for a long time, find out how to begin aerobic exercises regularly
If you do vigorous aerobic exercise such as jogging, half the duration (75 minutes per week) achieves the same benefits
You can accumulate these 30 minutes/day by doing at least 10 minutes in one bout of exercise, but to get actual benefits, make sure that you measure the intensity of your exercise correctly
Resistance training for at least two days a week (optimally for three alternate days/week), in addition to aerobic exercise, is recommended for all adults. You can choose exercises using body weight, free weight or machines at a gym, to know all about resistance exercises, go to ‘How to begin and build up resistance exercise’
There is a way for you to combine both these exercise, for a comprehensive but shorter workout, which can be done at home and has shown great results
Research suggests that the HICT (High Intensity Circuit Training ) or ‘7 minute work out’ may be of greater benefit to blood sugar control than either aerobic or resistance exercise alone and it has been reported to be beneficial for blood sugar control, HbA1c regulation and weight loss in diabetics
The recommended duration of exercise is 20 minutes or 3 cycles of 7 minutes, but gradual increase in intensity is recommended
Thus there is a lot to choose from, when it comes to exercise for diabetics, find out your favorite way and stick with it !
If you still need motivation to start exercising, also read how-does-exercise-help-in-diabetes-and-of-what-kind/
Diabetics, who have had the disease for a long time or have complications, need a few cautions to be taken care of before they start exercising, find out more
CHECK OUT: Our references for diabetes mellitus