Light Exercise Improves Blood Sugar Management in Diabetics

December 15, 2016
Light Exercise Improves Blood Sugar in Diabetics

Inadequate exercise has been linked to a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, dementia and certain forms of cancer. For diabetics, sedentary lifestyles are especially harmful, due to preexisting issues that already promote poor health. If you're a diabetic, learn why the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is recommending more exercise than ever before.
Increasing Movement
For years, health experts have recognized that exercise is an important factor in managing diabetes. Previously, the ADA recommended light physical activity for every 90 minutes of inactivity. Now, the association has upped its recommendation, based on a review of more than 180 studies.
How Much Exercise Do I Need?
According to the ADA, diabetics should perform three or more minutes of light activity for every 30 minutes of prolonged lack of activity, whether it’s watching television or sitting at a computer. This could amount to walking in place, arm stretches, leg extensions, side lunges or any other activity that involves sustained movement. What’s more, these movements should be in addition to regular exercise routines, which include thirty minutes to an hour of continuous activity.
Which Exercises Are Best?
In its latest guidelines, the ADA recommends aerobic workouts for people with type 2 diabetes, since this helps to control weight, improve blood sugar and reduce the risk of heart disease. For type 1 diabetics, the ADA recommends regular aerobic and resistance training, which both help to improve heart fitness, insulin sensitivity and overall muscle strength.
The Dangers of Sitting
Research has shown improved blood sugar management, whenever diabetics interrupt prolonged sedentary behavior with three or more minutes of light activity. At the same time, other studies have shown that extended periods of sitting can increase a person's risk of diabetes, while exacerbating existing diabetic symptoms.
This can be especially problematic for people who work at jobs that require extended periods of sitting. In these cases, diabetics can try walking in place, performing side lunges, torso twists, desk chair swivels and various types of stretches. Whatever the case, it's important to break up long periods of sedentary behavior to ward off future health problems.

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