Living with Diabetes

How does exercise help people with diabetes stay healthy?

A Answers (4)

  • AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Diabetic Treatment
    Exercise provides many benefits to people with diabetes, including reduced heart risks such as hypertension and high cholesterol, and improved insulin sensitivity. Watch the video to learn more about benefits of exercise.

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  • Not only does exercise make you feel and look good, it improves blood flow and muscle tone. It can even help you handle stress. Aerobic exercise gives your heart and lungs an especially good workout. It makes your heart pump harder and gets the blood flowing through even your smallest blood vessels. This helps prevent the circulation and foot problems that people with diabetes can get. Walking is something that almost everyone can do and is very effective as an all-around exercise.

  • Exercise is an important part of staying healthy and controlling your blood glucose. Keep these points in mind:

    Talk with your doctor about what types of exercise are safe for you. Make sure your shoes fit well and your socks stay clean and dry. Check your feet for redness or sores after exercising. Call your doctor if you have sores that do not heal. Warm up and stretch for 5 to 10 minutes before you exercise. Then, cool down for several minutes after you exercise. For example, walk slowly at first, stretch, and then walk faster. Finish up by walking slowly again. Ask your doctor whether you should exercise if your blood glucose level is high. Ask your doctor whether you should have a snack before you exercise. Know the signs of low blood glucose, also called hypoglycemia. Always carry food or glucose tablets to treat low blood glucose. Always wear your medical identification. Find an exercise buddy. Many people find they are more likely to do something active if a friend joins them. This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
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  • AUnitedHealthcare answered

    Regular exercise may help lower your blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications.

    If you have diabetes, your body either does not make enough insulin or it can't use the insulin it makes. But when you exercise, your body becomes more responsive to insulin. It takes less insulin to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. Exercise helps the body move sugar to where it's supposed to go – the cells – instead of lingering in the blood.

    Better blood sugar control does not end when the treadmill stops. Your body reaps these health benefits during your workout and for several hours after. Over time, exercise may help people with type 2 diabetes reverse their resistance to insulin. This is because physical activity helps the cells better respond to insulin.

    Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

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