Best Exercises for Diabetics

What kind of exercise is best for Type 2 diabetics, aerobic training or resistance training? Actually the answer is both. According to the American Diabetes Association:

Resistance training, similarly to aerobic training, improves metabolic features and insulin sensitivity and reduces abdominal fat in type 2 diabetic patients. … Recent data suggest that both aerobic and resistance training may exert beneficial effects on glucose control in subjects with type 2 diabetes.

In addition to weight loss, exercise builds muscle mass and stability. For those with Type 2 diabetes the loss of muscle mass makes it harder to maintain blood sugar levels. By adding mass, blood sugar levels are easier to control and there are gains in physical coordination and balance, which benefits those who are at risk of falling. Below are a few of the best exercises suggested for diabetics.

Walking for Diabetics

Walking requires no gym membership, just a good pair of shoes. Like all aerobic exercises, a brisk 45 minute walk raises the heart rate and burns fat. Walking is most beneficial when routinely done three times a week. Make sure to change things up, try different locations like an adjacent neighborhood, the local mall, or hiking trail.

Weight Training for Diabetics


This is my favorite! Weight training at home or in the gym is typically done indoors, making it easy to commit to a year-round routine. Plan two to three 45 minute sessions per week. Focus on the major muscle groups chest, back, and legs. When planning your routine prioritze free weights like dumbbells and barbells over machines, you will gain the most in coordination and balance.

Swimming for Diabetics

Swimming is a low impact aerobic exercise that is easy on the joints. In contrast to walking or jogging, it is also better for the feet. A routine in is not limited to swimming. Most pools have lanes that are about 4 feet deep. Water provides resistence when walking the lane that makes for a good workout. For the arms and upper-body, most sports stores sell hydro-grip blades and water weights for in-pool resistance training.

Bike Riding for Diabetics

Stationary bicycling, like swimming, is another exercise that doesn’t put pressure on the joints, and like weight training, it is done inside no matter the weather outside. For diabetics in particular, stationary biking improves blood flow to the legs while burning calories.

Pilates, Yoga, and Tai Chi

Other workout regiments that are helpful are Pilates, Yoga, and Tai Chi. Each of these can be done in the home or as a class and are low impact exercises that use your body weight for beneficial training.

It is alsways good to maintain a training log. Keeping a record of what exercises you did, how much or how long you worked out, and when you last trained allows you to track improvements, recall what you did last time, and make adjustments to your training. I like to record my weight, fasting blood sugar, calculate volume (total weight lifted during a workout) and intensity (average weight lifted during a workout).

Most important, have fun and take control of your diabetes.

-Steven

The Difference between Type 1 Type 2 Diabetes and How to Live with Type 2 Diabetes

When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes I did not know the difference between Type 1 Type 2 Diabetes or how to live with Type 2 diabetes. It was a scary time. My doctor and RN took the time to explain things thoroughly and made a few suggestions like trying the Mediterranean Diet, losing weight, and exercising. When I was younger I did all these things, but it had been years since I hit the gym or jogged. Consequently, I gained weight, was out of shape, and now had diabetes. I have since lost over twenty pounds, go to the gym or for a swim daily, and eat a simple low carbohydrate diet (I don’t complicate things). My efforts to live a healthy life with diabetes has been successful. My A1C is below 6.0 and I feel better than I have in years. This article imparts a few important things I learned living with diabetes. Please note that I am not a medical doctor and I do not give medical advise.

What is the Difference between Type 1 and 2 Diabetes

Although Type 1 diabetes may occur later in life, it typically happens in childhood. With type 1 diabetes the body stops producing insulin and as a result insulin by injection or via pump is necessary.

Type 2 diabetes is more common and generally occurs after the age of forty. Although there are various causes, Type 2 diabetes is frequently the result of life style. It develops as the result of high levels of fat in the liver and pancreas. The strain on the pancreas causes insulin resistance or your pancreas stops producing enough insulin.

Diabetes Monitoring Guidelines

Using a digital blood sugar monitoring kit, apply a drop of blood to the appropriate test strip.

  • Normal range is 70 to 100 mg/dl
  • Pre-Diabetic is 101 to 125 mg/dl
  • Diabetic is over 125 mg/dl

As a Pre-Diabetic or Diabetic the goal is to keep your blood sugar levels within the normal range, as tested two hours after eating.

The A1C test provides an estimate of your average blood sugar over the past several months and is usually done as part of a regular check up routine.

  • Normal range is below 6.0 percent
  • Pre-Diabetic is 6.0-6.4 percent
  • Diabetic is over 6.5 percent

Type 2 Diabetes Diet Plans

Before you start any diet talk to your doctor. Also there are some good plans out there. Diets can be tricky, because you have to make sure you are getting the right amount of protein, vitamins, and other nutrients. Many physicians suggest the Mediterranean Diet others have devised their own. I have tried both and ended up with a hybrid of these that enables me to enjoy meals with my family, yet control my blood sugar – of course I do most of the cooking now. Some basics about diet and diabetes:

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, sodas, energy drinks, processed foods, cakes, cookies and other sugary foods.
  • You may want to limit the consumption of breads, potato, rice and daily products.
  • Enjoy fruits (before noon), vegetables, meats, nuts, beans (I make a mean chili), unsweetened almond milk.

For breakfast I often place a mixture of berries (Black Berries, Raspberries, and Blue Berries) in a blender with a little honey and unsweetened almond milk. During the day I may snack on boiled eggs, nuts, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, or olives. Dinner involves a combination of meat, most often chicken, with vegetables. We also enjoy home made chili. Another favorite of ours is a Polish dish called Bigos – great recipes online. More important, I keep a daily food log where I record what I eat as well as my fasting blood sugar in the morning and weight.

Diabetes Exercise Program

Which is better, aerobic exercise like walking or jogging, or strength training in the gym – that is the debate. First speak with your doctor before starting any fitness program. Thereto, find an exercise regiment that you feel confident with, one that you can do on a consistent and progressive basis that you reasonably enjoy. I do strength training Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and swim at the local indoor pool Tuesdays and Thursdays. At the pool I have met other diabetics shaving off pounds. The pool is easy on the joints, refreshing in the morning, and is more than just swimming. I combine walking laps with swimming, and using a kick-board. TIME! Yes I said the “T” word. Time is something many of us do not have. Really, who has time for a work out!? I made time for exercise by getting up at 5:00 a.m., beginning my workout no later than 6:00 a.m. and making it to work by 7:30 a.m. Few want to get up that early, but as I have mentioned life with diabetes requires a life style change. I feel like I’m in the Army again, I do more before 8:00 a.m. than most do all day. The fact of the matter is that to live a healthy life with diabetes, diet and exercise is imperative – there is no magic pill or injection.

Keep an exercise log – it keeps you honest and find a workout buddy who gets you past the excuses. Also, research the literature on your workout choice. Here you will find tips and tricks that are important and help you avoid injury. Make sure you have good shoes for walking or jogging and foot care creams if you swim.

Proper Diabetic Foot Care and Diabetes Accessories

Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet. Diabetic Neuropathy may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Also, reduced blood flow to the feet may make it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. As a diabetic, injuries to the feet, such as cuts or blisters, can easily become infected or not heal putting you at risk for an amputation. Avoiding trimming toe-nails too close, wear house shoes, remove pebbles and other discomforts from shoes, and keep you feet clean and conditioned. Diabetic accessories include diabetic socks, shoes, skin creams among many other items.

How to Live with Type 2 Diabetes

Living with diabetes is about taking care of yourself – it is a new life style. As I like to say, my life style and diet got me into this mess, and it is my life style and diet that will get me out of it.

 

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MY STORY

On New Years 2018 my blood sugar was 440 mg/dL, the highest level I had ever recorded. It shocked me. At the time I was on three medications to control my Type 2 Diabetes. It was apparent to me that the med roller-coaster was taking me for a ride and waiting ahead was liver failure, an amputation and a premature death. The roller-coaster that we diabetics ride dictates that with time medicines become less effective causing a switch to another diabetes drug or worse the addition of a drug to our daily cocktail of injections and pills. Moreover, we become complacent. Many diabetics develop that attitude – we all know it, “as long as I am taking my drugs, I can eat and drink what I want.” This mindset ensures that the roller-coaster ride ends poorly. Diabetes medications will not make you well, do not enable you to eat what you want and are never a substitute for managing blood glucose through diet and exercise.

At that New Years party in 2018, I was avoiding the usual high-carb items like cookies. A fellow diabetic noticed that I was avoiding the sweets and commented to me “just live your life.” I should have found other means of enjoying the evening besides eating and drinking. As a diabetic, food is not your friend, not even at a party. Living my life by eating and drinking what I wanted (most of the time) was not living at all – it was a slow downward spiral.

So, I had to make some life choices, and I chose to live a better life leading to a future without diabetes medications. No longer resigned to my current life style, I knew drastic changes were necessary. The way I saw things, it was my diet and life style that got me into this mess, I will use my diet and life style to get me out of it. With the support of my wife, I made a lot of life changes, which included working-out three to five times a week. My current A1C is 5.9% and I am off of all diabetes medications. Through diet and exercise it is possible to control your diabetes and live a longer and fuller life. This website is a way for me to share my experience and give back to the diabetes community.

WHY I WANT TO HELP DIABETICS

With no family history of diabetes, my diagnosis shocked me. I had no clue what my blood sugar should be, what was dangerously too high or too low or what could happen to me, such as a stroke or coma. Soon after leaving the doctor’s office I bought a test kit, my blood sugar was over 300 mg/dL. I waited a while and retested. My blood sugar had come down a few points, but was still over 300 mg/dL. I also bought a book to learn more about my illness. What I discovered is that there had been warning signs, which I had ignored: dry itchy skin, thirst, and exhaustion among others. My wife later bought me diabetic socks and skin lotion- who knew! It was a learning process highlighted with aha! moments of discovery. I want this website to be a source for diabetics to find supplies, diet and treatment plans, and the literature to make life with diabetes easier.

MY GOAL

My goal is simple, provide a one-stop shop for diabetics to find the answers and supplies they need to live a better life.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave your comments below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Steven M Collins
life-with-diabetes.com