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Exercising for Diabetes Sufferers

by Denny Santi

Exercise is often recommended in treating type 1 (insulin- dependent) and type 2 (noninsulin- dependent) diabetes ~ both as a stand-alone activity and in combination with diet and drug therapy. For people who are heavily dependent on medicines, exercise cannot replace drugs but it does contribute to normalizing the glucose metabolism.

Exercise helps diabetes sufferers in many ways. Weight is easier controlled when exercising regularly. Blood sugar level, which is a major concern for all diabetes sufferers, is lowered, thanks to exercise. Additionally, exercise lessens the probability of a heart disease, which is also very wide-spread among diabetes sufferers.

Also, regular exercise helps to improve one~s overall condition and this way reduces the risk of long-term complications. Regular exercise can even prevent diabetes in people who still have not developed it but are susceptible to it.

Despite the numerous advantages of exercise, do not underestimate the risks. Let your doctor decide if taking exercise is recommendable for you and if yes ~ what kind of exercise will be less risky. One of the dangers for diabetes sufferers are that exercise might change your reaction to insulin or might lead to an abrupt drop in blood sugar level, which is another risk for you.

In addition to the general advice for exercising, there are some tips, which for diabetes sufferers are especially important to follow. For them wearing comfortable shoes (and clothes) is a must because the occurrence of a single blister on the foot might lead to a serious infection that requires time and drugs to heal.

Special attention should be paid to drinking enough water and any kinds of liquid in order to avoid dehydration. Dehydration during exercising occurs because the body evaporates liquid in order to keep cool and if you do not drink water while exercising, you will get dehydrated, which is bad for your blood sugar level.

So, what kind of exercise is recommended? Exercise can be any physical activity ~ from cleaning the house, to regularly climbing the stairs, to strength training. It all depends on the physical condition.

Generally household chores that take 20-30 minutes a day and do not require much effort reduce the daily insulin requirement and are risk free. Also, many doctors usually recommend aerobic exercise ~ walking, jogging, bicycling, or aerobics.

If you have problems with the nerves in the legs or feet, then chair exercises, bicycling, or swimming can be a wise choice, because they do not strain the lower limbs. If you do not have problems with the lower limbs, then you can undertake walking or jogging.

If you are young or do not have diabetes-related complications, even strength training is OK. However, it is mandatory that your doctor approves strength training. Even better, exercise only in the presence of a personal instructor! Strength training exercises make one~s muscles to more actively demand glucose and have a positive effect on the glucose metabolism. Besides, strength training minimizes the lean mass and helps in keeping weight under control.

Denny Santi is the Staff Writer of Diabetes SERV. His site has a great collection of information on diabetes, including a free newsletter, resources and related articles. For great information, go to: http://www.diabetesserv.com


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