Good morning Susannah,
After talking about the many benefits of diabetes exercise in past letters, I want to move now into what types of exercise a person with diabetes type 2 like you needs to practice. Although it is true that any type of physical activity helps, I am going to recommend the two forms of exercise that help diabetics lower blood sugar levels the most. Let’s take a look.
Recommendation Nº 1 – Aerobic exercise
The primary type of exercise I recommend you include in your daily exercise routine is any aerobic exercise that elevates the heart rate and sustains that elevation for a minimum of 20 minutes, preferably more.
The American College of Sports Medicine defines aerobic exercise as “any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously, and is rhythmic in nature.” Aerobic exercise includes:
- brisk walking
- jumping rope
- stair climbing
- aerobic dance
Recommendation Nº 2 – Strength training or muscle building exercise
The more muscle or lean body tissue you have, the better insulin can introduce glucose inside the cells, which means less glucose in the blood. Therefore, exercise that builds up muscle tissue is highly therapeutic for people with type 2 diabetes. Types of muscle-building exercise include:
- weight lifting
How much should you exercise every day?
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends for most healthy adults:
- At least two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (brisk walking or swimming) or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running) — preferably spread throughout the week.
- Strength training exercises at least twice a week
Regular walking is my favorite type of exercise (I never learned how to ride a bicycle) and is one that I often recommend in my consulting business because almost everyone can do it. Besides helping with insulin resistance, walking helps control high blood pressure, lowers LDL cholesterol level, increases HDL cholesterol, and helps you with overweight, all health conditions that are major risks for diabetics.
We’ll talk more about walking tomorrow; otherwise this letter can get too long. In the meantime, I want you to give a serious consideration to what type of exercise you would like to include in your daily life.
Choosing a type of exercise you enjoy doing is very important, because otherwise you would not stick to it. And as you know by now, being diabetic means you need to be physically active for the rest of your life. And the same goes for those reading this article that are not diabetic.
To your health
Emilia Klapp, RD, BS.
Your Diabetes Coach
Dear Reader: Subscribe to this blog via RSS or email so you don’t miss my articles.