Why Is Your Doctor Insisting That You Exercise?
Love it or hate it – you can’t ignore exercising!
We’ve all heard it, we all know it – exercising is essential. But for most of us, finding the time and motivation to do it regularly can be tough.
So why is your doctor adamant on you getting more active? We’ll tell you.
For people with diabetes, exercise helps lower blood sugar levels in two ways:
- It increases insulin sensitivity: Which means it improves your body’s ability to utilize the available insulin to break down the glucose.
- It helps use up excess glucose: While exercising, the muscles in your body contract and can convert the glucose to energy whether insulin is available or not.
Apart from these benefits, exercise also helps in:
- Improving your mood
- Reducing stress and tension
- Getting you to sleep better
- Losing weight
- Improving heart health
- Lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- Improving your overall mental health
Now that you’ve understood the importance of exercising, let’s find out how to make it part of your routine:
If you’ve never exercised before: Start slow with low impact, easy exercises like brisk walking. Set realistic goals that you know you can achieve – the initial, small wins will motivate you to keep pushing harder. Start with 10-15 minute stretches and work your way up to 30, 45, 60 minutes a day.
You can either do aerobic (cardio) exercises such as walking, dancing, Zumba, swimming, jogging or running, tennis, biking. Or go for strength training exercising that helps build muscles such as weight training.
Your goal should be to get at least 30 minutes of exercise that gets your heart pumping and make you break a sweat at least 4-5 times a week.
A word of caution: Exercise causes your blood sugar levels to drop. Always carry glucose tablets with you in case you feel dizzy or start feeling weak. Do not exercise on an empty stomach. Talk to your doctor about the best time to exercise during the day based on your medicine/ insulin regimen.
Lastly, here are some tips that will help make exercise a habit:
- Make it a part of your calendar and give it the same importance you would give an urgent phone call or meeting.
- Keep your gym gear in plain sight so that it acts as a reminder.
- Get a workout buddy – chances of you sticking to your plan will be higher.
- Experiment with different types of workouts. If yoga is too slow for you, try Zumba. If walking seems boring, try swimming – try whatever interests you and stick with it.