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Diabetes and physical activity

Updated on February 17, 2010

Weight is your worst enemy and often a sign of your lifestyle

Stop in time and turn your life around
Stop in time and turn your life around

Weight gain is your worst enemy

Regular exercise has a marked advantage and effect on the regulation of blood sugar levels for people diagnosed with either insulin intoleranse or diabetes type 2.

It is an advantage in protecting agains heart diseases. high blood pressure, eye problems kidney problems and to say the least increased weight. In addition you will have advantage in better muscle, joints and bone health.

30 minutes physical activity each day is enough to give results and these 30 minutes can be divided into 3 periods of 10 minutes should this prove easier. The main thing is that the body is burning fuel and the blood sugar is in demand. For those who are used to exercising then i would definately say that it is an advantage for you to increase this to 1 hour of training at least twice per week in addition to the 30 minutes on other days. One day off each week can be accepted when the routine has become a good habit.

Just try to keep in mind that any exercise routine is for your own advantage and nobody elses, although it is always nice to be reminded how well you are doing for your hard earned efforts.

The main goal is to prevent against diabetes related illnesses, and these are not exclusive for the elderly, this is your life and you are taking control. Please don't wait until you have symptoms like high blood pressure or kidney problems before deciding to fight take control as soon as you suspect insulin intolerance or have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Physical activity increases the uptake of glucose independant of insulin. When muscles contract they need glucose to function properly. The more exercise done for each muscle group the more glucose needed. This in turn will lower the HBA1c levels over time.

However, do not expect the HBA1c to reduce after one or two days as this is a blood test which indicates the amount of sugar in your blood over time ( approx 2 to 3 months)


You can push yourself to a moderate intensity for best effect but should you experience chest pains or are diagnosed with angina pectoris consult your doctor for further help and adjustment to your training level and/or send you for further checks on your heart for appropriate treatment. Do not under any circumstances ignore any warning signs as these complications can be treated when caught early enough.

Contrary to popular belief, diabetes type 2 is a serious illness but it is manageable and many of the complications can be delayed and in some cases avoided.

If you have already been prescribed with blood sugar lowering medications it may be necessary to measure your blood levels to see if you need to reduce your medication dose. High intensity work reduces the blood sugar levels and with high doses of medication it is possible to experience hypoglycemia. Your workout is in part doing the job of the medication.

Should you experience hypoglycemia during your routine then it is wise to have some fast acting carbohydrates at hand which can be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream.

Strength training with weights can be a really good training exercise for people with diabetes because they help to strengthen bones. However, this should be started together with a personal trainer who can help you to control proper movements. If your doctor has suspected autonom neuropathy or any heart diseases you must avoid any routines that may increase the blood pressure.

Other complications that would affect ability of training involving high intensity workouts are as follows. In these cases make a training plan together with your health care worker or general practitioner:

  • Blood sugar levels over 17mmol/l
  • Angina pectoris
  • Retinopathy with bleeding
  • Kidney disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Uncontrolled arythmia


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