How Exercise Can Affect Your Diabetes Beyond Weight Loss

by Cindy

Everyone knows that exercise is important, not just for diabetic patients, but for anyone.  Unfortunately, it is not always easy to make time for exercise and many people become frustrated if that exercise does not result in swift weight loss. All too often we expect exercise to do nothing for us except for reduce weight.  But what else does regular physical activity do for your diabetes? The answers may surprise you!

All diabetic patient should be advised by their physician to improve their diet and exercise patterns as part of the lifestyle modifications which are the cornerstone of diabetic management.  The ADA currently recommends that patients aim for approximately 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity each week.  There are many strategies to achieve this goal and it is important to remember that short, frequent sessions of exercise are just as beneficial as longer ones.   Meeting this goal of 150 minutes/week can improve your diabetes in so many ways!

  1. Improved insulin sensitivity: This means that the tissues become more responsive to insulin and blood glucose levels decrease.
  2. Weight loss:  Even a small reduction in weight can have a big impact.  Lose only 5% of your body weight and the risk of diabetic complications decreases!
  3. Less body fat
  4. Improved cholesterol: The good cholesterol (HDL) is very responsive to exercise.
  5. Lower blood pressure
  6. Stress relief
  7. Improved outlook and attitude

Remember that exercise doesn’t have to be a formal class, a 5K run or hours at the gym.  A brisk walk around the neighborhood with your dog for 10 minutes three times per day can help you reach your goal.  Even making simple changes, such as taking the stairs or parking farther away can really add up.  Many find a pedometer to be helpful.  Even tiny changes can make a big difference and you will begin to see the benefits of increased physical activity.


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