Do you get enough exercise? If you’re like many Americans, the answer is no — and that’s especially true for those of us with diabetes. Studies show as few as 39 percent of people with type 2 diabetes participate in a regular physical activity, compared with 58 percent of other Americans. And that’s a shame because working out can help increase insulin action and keep blood sugars in check, says Sheri Colberg-Ochs, Ph.D., professor emerita of exercise science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Exercise also helps you lose weight and improve balance, important because many people with type 2 diabetes are at risk for obesity and for falls. “I fully recommend that anyone over 40 with diabetes include balance training as part of their weekly routine, at least two to three days per week,” says Colberg-Ochs. “It can be as simple as practicing balancing on one leg at a time or more complex (like tai chi exercises). Lower body and core resistance exercise also double as balance training.”
Here are great workouts you can easily work into your daily routine. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen, and go slowly at first. Over time, you can increase the length and intensity of your exercise routine.
When it comes to preventing, controlling, or reversing diabetes, you can’t afford to overlook exercise. Exercise can help your weight loss efforts and is especially important in maintaining weight loss. There is also evidence that regular exercise can improve your insulin sensitivity even if you don’t lose weight.
You don’t have to become a gym rat or adopt a grueling fitness regimen. One of the easiest ways is to start walking for 30 minutes five or more times a week. You can also try swimming, biking, or any other moderate-intensity activities—meaning you work up a light sweat and start to breathe harder. Even house and yard work counts.