Benefits of Exercise in Diabetes

Exercise is an important way to manage diabetes. Not only can exercise help you achieve beneficial weight loss, but every time you exercise, it helps to lower your blood sugar and helps the body cells accept insulin more efficiently, increasing your general well-being.

Nerve pain and damage in the hands or feet is called peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes (i.e. diabetic neuropathy) can make exercise painful. When present, it may cause burning, tingling, and numbness in the extremities of the person, especially their feet.

Adequate control of this type of pain can be difficult, but this fact not withstanding, it is very essential to manage this pain effectively so that diabetics can benefit from the good effects of exercises.

Exercising is beneficial (credit)

Controlling diabetic neuropathy

Not everyone with diabetes will come to have peripheral neuropathy. To manage diabetic neuropathy well, in those that do come down with it, three factors are essential:
  • a tight blood glucose control;
  • use of special pain killers, and;
  • preventing further nerve damage.
Tight blood sugar control
To adequately control peripheral neuropathy, and to prevent it in the first place, you must ensure a tight blood glucose control.

This, in practical terms, will mean eat right, use your glucometer frequently, meet your target blood glucose levels and do not forget to take your antidiabetic drugs as prescribed by your doctor.

Use of special pain killers
In addition, if you have controlled your blood sugar well and there is still the need, then it will be necessary to consult a physician for special pain killers. Examples of such medicines will include NSAIDs like aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen; Antidepressants like amitriptyline, nortriptyline, or duloxetine; and Antiseizure drugs like Dilantin, Tegretol, gabapentin, or pregabalin.

Prevent further nerve damage
Finally, this is obvious, isn't it? If you cause more damage to the nerves, the injury gets worse. So to keep from worsening, and also allow the body to try to 'heal' previous injury, you must prevent further nerve damage.

In practical terms, this can be done by: daily close control of blood glucose, avoiding big swings in your blood sugar levels; regular exercising and eating right; weight loss if overweight, since excess weight puts more pressure on painful feet; special care of the feet, carefully noting any wounds early; and again, taking your prescribed drugs as and at when due.

Fast exercise workouts to help diabetics

Exercise is an important part of healthy living, but when you have type 2 diabetes, it becomes essential to help you manage the disease, manage your weight and keep your blood sugar level in the normal range.

Trying to fit an exercise workout into your day may be difficult, but if you break it into shorter blocks of time everyday, you can still reap the benefits. Increasing physical activity throughout the day ensures you maximize the benefits mentioned above.

Losing 5% to 7% of your total body weight can lower blood sugar levels and help reverse or prevent complications. Studies show that weight loss of 7% and moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking for a total of 150 minutes weekly can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by up to 58%1.

Some good and insightful ideas for squeezing in some quick daily exercises are suggested below. We hope you find them helpful:
  • Stretching. Stretch exercises while still on bed before getting up in the morning, while reading the e-mail, or just anytime may be better than nothing;
  • Walking. Brisk walk for at least 30minutes daily may benefit most, but if you cannot; simply walking the dog on a leash 1, 2 or three times a day down several blocks, or walking to the supermarket alone or with a friend; or any other ideas you can come up with may suffice;
  • Join a professional exercise club. You may need to ask questions here. There are exercise clubs everywhere manned by trained professionals able to dose exercise levels depending on age, types of debilities present and other factors;
  • Ask question. You may simply ask other diabetics in good health how they manage.

Concluding

Finally, the first thing to remember is that keeping fit even for the healthy person is a challenge but once a routine is established, you will actually feel funny when you don't do it.

Having said this, any exercise or physical activity is better than nothing at all. Any form of exercise is going to help: cycling, brisk walk, jogging, elpitcal or stepping programs, etc; it really doesn't matter as along as you do it. Change the routine up to keep it interesting to do.

References:
  1. Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, Hamman RF, Lachim Jm, Walker EA, Nathan DM; Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin. N Engl J Med 2002; 346 (6):394-403.

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