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Why is exercising so important to diabetics?

Updated on January 11, 2012

Need More Energy

Exercising works in lowering your blood sugar level without insulin shots, or increasing your oral medications, that’s why!

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder. It affects the way we convert food into energy. The foods we eat, mostly the carbohydrates, are broken down into sugar or glucose. This is the type of sugar that provides us with energy. This energy is transported in the bloodstream to our muscles and vital organs. In order for this energy to get into the cells it needs a hormone called insulin. This is where a diabetic runs into trouble.

The hormone insulin is produce by the pancreas. In a diabetic the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, or the body can’t react to the insulin that it does make. The sugar stays in the blood or it goes into the urine and leaves the body without providing any energy. This is why diabetics often feel tired and have little or no energy.

Benefits of Exercising

People with prediabetes control their blood sugar with diet and sometime oral medication. Usually they do not want to have to go on insulin shots. This is where exercise can play an extremely important role. The Diabetes Prevention Program did a study monitored more than 3,000 people with prediabetes symptoms. The study found nearly a 60% reduction in delay or possibly preventing type 2 diabetes with just a small weight loss of just 5 to 7 percent, or 10 to 15 pounds for a 200-pound person.

It is very important to take diabetes seriously and do all you can to control your blood sugar level. The sugar that builds up in the bloodstream can damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves, feet, legs and teeth. But, just a small change in your daily routine can help:

lower blood pressure lower blood glucose

lower bad cholesterol raise good cholesterol

Increase ability to use insulin lower risk of heart disease

Strength bones keep joints flexible

Lose weight reduce body fat

Increase your energy reduce stress

Exercising does make a difference

When the body is functioning normally, insulin is released from the pancreas when the amount of sugar in the blood increases. The insulin stimulates the liver and the muscles to take in the extra sugar. This will lower the level of the sugar in the blood. But remember, a diabetic has problems using this insulin. When we exercise, the body needs extra energy for the muscles. Your muscles take up glucose at almost 20 times the normal rate with continued moderate exercising. This lowers your blood sugar the natural way. Exercising takes this sugar out of your blood and puts it into your muscles where it can be used. Doing this at 20 times the normal rate will lower your A1C, and glucose level. Make sure you do not become hypoglycemic. Have a fruit drink, piece of fruit, crackers or glucose tab. This is something you need to discuss with your doctor.

A study of Hispanic men and women using strength training for 16 weeks, found improved sugar control when compared to others taking medications. The study participants were stronger, gained muscle, lost body fat, and had less depression. A different form of exercise is aerobic fitness. Just walking on a treadmill or swimming laps in a pool, walking outside or any activity that raises your heart rate and keeps it up for twenty minutes, will help manage sugar levels.

When you make any huge change to your routine, it is necessary to check with your doctor first. Doctors will be thrilled with your choice to exercise, but your medical history may warrant a closely watch program. You will not be able to swim ten laps the first week, nor will you be able to complete a full hour of aerobic class. It takes time to build up your endurance. Be patient!


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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      I am a type 1 diabetic and just published a hub on you might be a diabetic if.... I am outraged with the doctors who downplay pre-diabetes as if it is nothing, especially in older women. It's as if they just believe it's pointless to stop the progression to Type 2 diabetes. Thanks for the interesting hub I voted it up.

    • chenas profile image

      chenas 5 years ago

      The Sad American Diet (SADD) is the cause of America's health problems, i.e, diabetes, hypertension, cholestrol, heart disease and all the other ailments that plague mankind and women too. In addition, to being big business for doctors and pharmaceutical companies.