Physical activity is essential in the prevention of diabetes as well as for persons already suffering from diabetes. Exercise makes it easier to burn the glucose present in our bodies, hence glucose levels in the blood are lowered. Moreover, regular workouts improve our sense of wellbeing.
Physical activity is of particular importance to people with type 2 diabetes as well as to people at risk of developing diabetes. Each increase in energy expense by 500 kcal per week reduces the risk of diabetes by 6%. As type 2 diabetes often goes hand in hand with obesity, intensive workout is not always possible. Walks are the right thing to start with – as long as they are regular and at the right pace.
To keep fit, physical exercise is recommended three to five times a week for 20–60 minutes. This can be aerobic exercise, such as walking, running/jogging, swimming or dancing. When choosing a physical activity, we should take account of our health and physical potential. Resistance workout (for example with fitness tapes), i.e. at least one series of 8–10 exercises involving various muscle groups, is recommended 2–3 times a week.
In case of any doubts as to the exercise routine it is a good idea to check it with the doctor. This matters especially for people with type 1 diabetes who ought to check their blood glucose levels before they choose their exercise plan and during the workout. If they have any alarming symptoms, such as a balance disorder or dizziness, their workout must be interrupted immediately!
There are a few simple tips to increase your physical activity – take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus one bus stop earlier (or walk one bus stop before you get on the bus), walk instead of driving. Adopt or buy yourself a dog if you can afford it. A pet will make you walk more.