Benefits of Exercise for Diabetics: A Measured Approach

Patients with Type II diabetes typically benefit from exercise. Losing weight, gaining muscle, or just becoming more active can help patients get their blood glucose levels under control and may help with some of the symptoms caused by diabetes.

Getting the most from a workout doesn’t have to be difficult, and patients with diabetes can start exercising without taking too much of a toll on their bodies. Unweighting therapy, a type of rehabilitation that takes some of the “weight” of gravity off your body using a special treadmill technology, is one strategy that may help you regain physical fitness. Even with diabetes, it may be possible to lose weight and turn back the negative effects of your illness through the power of exercise.

People with diabetes may need some physical rehabilitation to help them begin exercising gradually. This way, you can reduce your risks of pain and injury from muscle strain, overuse, or other serious problems. Under your healthcare provider’s supervision, you can take a measured approach to exercise.

Ready? Let’s get moving. Your body will probably thank you!

Exercise for Diabetics

Exercise is good for diabetics, generally speaking, and this is well-established in medicine and sports science. According to an article in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, ¹ people with diabetes experience beneficial changes in their bodies’ sensitivity to insulin and overall blood sugar levels with exercise. Since these benefits begin to disappear after 72 hours, exercising regularly (daily if possible) is best. This isn’t always easy for people who are unfit, overweight, or experiencing troubling symptoms.

For some diabetics who’ve already experienced symptoms that make exercise more difficult, modifications to traditional fitness routines may be necessary. Diabetic neuropathy, for example, can make it painful to walk. It can also make it challenging for the body to control the heart rate. In these situations, adjusting exercises makes sense.

Measured Exercises: Modification is Key

A professionally-designed fitness plan can help by taking into account personal fitness levels, physical limitations, and medical concerns. Diabetics should talk to their healthcare provider about exercise options. With their assistance, you can find out how much and what types of exercises your body can handle.

What types of modifications do you need? Here are a few your doctor may recommend:

  • Perceived exertion—If you have autonomic neuropathy, you may still build your cardio system’s strength gradually. Your doctor may recommend a modified workout that is safer for your heart. Your workouts will probably be adjusted based on how strenuous they feel to you.
  • Lowimpact—You may need a low-impact exercise plan that is gentler on your joints and muscles. Walking is a great low-impact workout for many people.
  • Unweighting—For patients with foot or leg pain, unweighting therapy may make walking more comfortable. Exercising on a specially-designed treadmill can also reduce the perceived exertion you experience during your workouts.

To start your new fitness plan, you can get help from a personal trainer or ask a physical therapist. From there, you may be able to do your workouts at home or under supervision. If unweighting therapy is right for you, walking on an Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ is another great option. To find one near you, use our Zip Code Locator.

As always, be sure to get permission from your doctor or healthcare provider before you start a new exercise program. Your provider may ask you questions about your current health status and may run a few tests to make sure you’re ready for an exercise program.

Taking the path to better fitness may help you feel better, manage your diabetes, and gain more freedom to do the things you love. Modified exercise can make your fitness journey even easier.