Exercise and Diabetes: How to Improve Your Quality of Life
If you suffer from diabetes, it can be difficult to find an exercise plan that will work well for you.
Exercise and diabetes may seem impossible if you suffer from the condition, but there are actually a numerous amount of health benefits that come with an effective exercise plan.
Below is some expert advice from our founding physician about the benefits of exercise for diabetics, and how being physically active can improve, and maintain, your blood sugar levels.
If you are a diabetic, and are looking to get more physically fit, there is an added health benefit that can come with your sweat and tears.
“According to recent medical studies, improving your own blood sugar levels could be as simple as adding a basic, daily exercise routine,” says Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D.
“The results of this particular study were printed in the Annals of Internal Medicine, and suggest for type 2 diabetes patients, exercise should be as regularly prescribed as any other drug,” says Dr. Cederquist.
How Exactly Does Exercise Help Manage Diabetes?
The results of this exercise and diabetes study were based on a study group that consisted of 251 adults with type 2 diabetes. Their ages ranged from 39 to 70, and their body mass index, or BMI, was 35. These subjects were not administered insulin, and none of them had a daily exercise routine.
The basis of this study was to find out what happens when people with diabetes added aerobics and/or weight lifting to their lifestyles.
Before beginning the study, each participant was given a physical check up to make sure that they were able to proceed. Once cleared for the study, they were coached in an exercise routine for one month to ensure that they would be able to proceed with the prescribed exercise and diabetes program.
Following the first month, the test subjects were placed into four different groups: weight training, aerobics, both aerobics and weight training, and lastly, the control group who didn’t exercise.
The teams that had workout routines were in the gym three times every week. The aerobics only group utilized stationary bikes and treadmills and started out at 15 minutes per day. After a period of time, they increased to 45 minutes per day.
The weight training group did a minimum of seven exercises on various weight machines, completing two or three sets on each.
The group that was assigned the aerobics plus weight training did the same workout as the aerobics and weight training groups combined: three times per week.
The participants in the exercise and diabetes study were never asked to try to lose weight or diet while undertaking their tasks. They continued to work out 3 times a week, for 22 weeks.
“Each of the exercise groups saw improvements in their blood glucose levels,” says Dr. Cederquist. “Not surprisingly, the group that did the aerobics plus weight training, saw the largest improvements overall.”
As expected, the group that didn’t exercise saw no improvement in their blood glucose levels.
What an Expert Recommends
With over 15 years experience as a bariatric physician, (a doctor who specializes in the field of weight management), and as a family practice physician, Dr. Cederquist has seen many patients come through her door who have needed an effective exercise plan to not only help manage their weight, but also their diabetes.
“Many of my patients with diabetes are afraid to do any type of exercise, just because they fear they are physically incapable,” says Dr. Cederquist.
“As a bariatric physician, my job is to provide each of my patients with an effective diet and exercise plan that helps them cope with diabetes, and also helps improve their quality of life.”
Many people who suffer from diabetes often make excuses for why they can’t exercise, and it is a physician’s responsibility to motivate them to do better. If a patient is unable to do both aerobics and weight training, they should try to do one or the other. Doing one is much better than doing nothing and every doctor should re-emphasize this point to their patients.
"When appropriate for the patient population, exercise can be a healthy and vital wellness component for my diabetic patients. It is a natural and effective way to help manage their blood sugar levels."
With diabetic-safe meals developed by Dr. Caroline Cederquist for BistroMD, you can enjoy healthy and delicious meals delivered to you. By saving time on menu planning, shopping, chopping and cooking, you can find time and energy to start implementing an exercise plan into a daily routine.