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logoAmrita Diabetic Welfare Association

Diabetes Mellitus, long considered a disease of minor significance, is now emerging as one of the main threats to human health in 21st century. Ignoring diabetes and taking poor care of it does not free anyone from its ill effects. But, while with some other elements .You have diabetes and still have a long, happy and productive life. This involves knowing exactly where, how and when problems may occur and taking action to prevent them from occurring. You need to combine a healthy life style regular and systematic exercise, a good meal plan, regular monitoring and visits to your doctor – with a positive outlook on life. Exercise whether at work or play, is as much a treatment of diabetes as any other form of therapy. Nowadays nobody is getting enough to do exercise. I have no time……, I am too busy……the questions and answers will go like this. In fact, those who are passing through a busy life and getting more stress should have to yield the benefits from exercise. A majority of our housewives will say we are doing the house hold works, but actually we can’t categorize those activities exercise program. After all what they are doing much, only switching on and off the machines for household works, right? Physical activity plays an extremely important role in overturning the clusters of symptoms (obesity, insulin resistance, hyper insulinemia, cardiac problem) that accompany diabetes. Exercise need not be unpleasantly aggressive to be beneficial. It doesn’t mean that you have to join a health club or spend some money for buying exercise machines. But focusing on an activity that is enjoyable and incorporating it in the daily activities can be pleasant as it is gratifying.

Exercise really help diabetes?

The answer is very definite ‘Yes’. Exercise can help to reduce your insulin requirements in two principal ways, This possibly reduces the amount of medication required to control diabetes. Here are some other beneficial effects that you can yield from regular exercise,

Exercise with Diabetes

Physical activities beneficial to people with diabetes

Types of Activity

As a guideline, the most effective exercise for people with diabetes is “aerobic” or “Cardio Vascular exercise”. They are the rhythmic, repetitive, sub maximal, dynamic movements of the large muscle groups in our body. This helps to burn calories especially from body fat.

Most of the exercise effects can be attained by doing these types of exercise in a systematic way. There are another group of exercise which are named “anaerobic exercises”. They are quick, repetitive movements for a short period of time with or without external resistances for example, In these type of exercise. There the need for large amount of energy within no time. So the body utilizes glucose for energy production. But the harm is that there will be more lactic acid accumulation as a metabolic waste product in our body. It is a harmful substance which can cause fatigue and soreness of the muscles.

But this can be neutralized in the liver later on. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the anaerobic exercise. This is also helpful, as it will contribute towards building up our muscle mass as well as our power. But care should be taken in case of other coexisting illness like retinopathy, nephropathy and cardiac problems.

Get Start Safely

It is good to do the exercise in the morning as you won’t be that much weak and the good effects of exercise will keep you more active and productive throughout the whole day. Keep in mind that you can increase your physical activity at any time of the day if you wish.

Estimate energy expenditure so as to help balance energy intake energy output and insulin requirements. Physical therapist or an exercise physiologist can help to create an individualized program to suit particular needs.

Special Points

If you are a type – 1 diabetic and if do not need to lose weight increase your energy intake to much your increased energy expenditure. This is particularly important during strenuous activity when you need to replace the energy you have burned. Always have some fast acting carbohydrate with you to use if you develop low blood sugar.

An Exercise Session

A typical exercise session will be comprised of a warm up, aerobic and a cool down phase. Each of these phase have its own importance to consider.

A warm up phase, usually 5-8 minutes prepares the body for more strenuous activity and helps to prevent injuries. Slow walking, free range of motion exercises, stretching, sit ups etc. Can be included in this phase.

The aerobic phase is the period of more intense exercise (walking, jogging, cycling etc.) Here we are trying to improve our cardio pulmonary endurance. The heart rate and breathing rate increases. Aim to achieve 50%-75% of the maximum heart rate (HR max = 220-your age) and maintain that gradually increase the time by maintaining the higher values in the target heart zone.

The cool down phase (5-8 minutes) gradually returns your body to its normal state. This prevents pooling of blood in the extremities, which could otherwise cause fainting. Stretching, free range of motion exercises to all joints etc. will help for this.

Aim to build up “aerobic session” from 15 minutes to about 30 or 45 minutes at least 5 days per week will help you to get the health benefits. Nearly all people who have diabetes can incorporate upper body strength training with light weight high repetition. But care should be taken in case of associated diabetic complications. Strenuous strength training should be carried out after proper check-up and under supervision only.

Staying Motivated