Diabetes and Exercise – Decide to Move
I heard from somebody’s sources that people
with diabetes are – could not or should not exercise. I have discussed that with my doctor and
he said, “That’s a bunch of nonsense.” I think in order to conquer diabetes,
you gonna have to exercise. The only way you’re really gonna get that
A1c counts down is to move where I am. You have to move when you got diabetes.
I don’t like to exercise, but from what’ve discovered when I exercise I feel better
and it’s very good for you and it helps keep your numbers down in terms
of weekly glucose levels. I found out that it really does make
a difference, diet and exercise. I used to wonder why they used to emphasize
that and then I stopped eating as much as I used to and I didn’t lose
a weight that I thought I would reduce one just not eating.
So then, I started exercising and I noticed that my weight did come
down and I did feel better. So exercise with the diet does make a difference. Hello, I’m Dr. Regina Benjamin,
United States Surgeon General. Welcome to this program on physical activity
for people with type 2 diabetes. Along with diet, medication, and testing
your blood sugar, exercise is crucial to managing your glucose. In fact, it’s just as important as
the pills or the insulin you take. People with diabetes often have to take
multiple medicines to control their blood sugar, their blood pressure, and
blood cholesterol and that can be very inconvenient and some doctors have talked
about a poly pill where all of those medicines would be rolled into one pill
taken once a day and make it easier for the patient, but if you think about it,
exercise is the ideal poly pill because it helps to lower the sugar, the cholesterol,
and the blood pressure and if people were more active, it is very possible that they
can reduce the real pills they have to take or perhaps even eliminate them all together. If you have type 2 diabetes, exercise
can help you in a number of ways. Blood sugar also known as glucose is
a primary fuel for muscles as they do their work. Physical activity helps the muscles use
the glucose instead of letting them build up in the blood.
Lowering blood sugar improves your heart health and protects your eyes, your feet,
your nerves, and your kidneys. Physical activity keeps your joints and
bones healthier and helps control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight. It also makes you feel better and
improves your quality of life. Now that I’m maintaining an exercise regimen,
I’m not as tired as I used to be. I’m moving more and I have more energy and
I’m not coming home in evening and falling sleep on the bed. I began to notice that I can
sleep better at night. In fact I needed alone with less sleep. I found that since I’ve exercise my blood
sugars are lower and my insulin usage is down and I think that’s a good thing, you know. People who should be screened before starting
an exercise program who have diabetes are those over the age of 40 and
have at least two cardiovascular disease risk factors like high blood pressure or
high cholesterol and people who have a family history of premature heart disease. It’s important to tell your doctor when
you are about to start an exercise program because they may need to make adjustments
in your medications. It may also be necessary for them to
make adjustments in your meal plan. It’s important to have realistic expectations
about activity so you can be most successful.
Keep in mind that if you haven’t exercise for many, many years, you’re not gonna
become fit over night or even weeks. It may take several months so it’s important
to start slowly, build up over time, although we set a goal of 30 to 40
minutes a day, the first week, you might only be able to do 10 minutes. When I start exercising on the elliptical
machine, I can only do about 2 minutes. At this point, I can do 20 which is good
because it took a while coz the first day I was thinking I’m gonna die on this
machine because, you know, I’m exercising and I’m out of breath and my legs are hurting.
You can break it up into shorter periods of time.
For example, 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunchtime, 10 minutes in the
afternoon and then over time, over weeks, and months, try to consolidate that so you
can go for 30 minutes, 40 minutes nonstop. Gradually as the weeks went on, then I
was doing 5 minutes and then I challenge myself to do may be 7 minutes and
then challenge with 10 minutes and so after a while, I was doing 20. You know I started out with step aerobics
because it didn’t look that hard for me. But once I got into it, I found out that
it was really hard but it’s something I had to just continue to do and after
a while, I’ll just thought of it pretty much as dancing. You know, I learned to like it.
So, it’s important to find the form of exercise that you’re enjoying so that you
can do it consistently because you’ll be more likely to stick to your routine
and exercise, even if you aren’t losing weight is still beneficial for several reasons.
It helps to relieve stress. It helps to lower your blood pressure
and cholesterol and it also helps your body to use your diabetes medications better. Although it’s important to choose an
activity that’s fun, you also need to make sure that the exercise does not harm your health. There are several ways you can keep
yourself safe while exercising; exercise with someone who knows you have
diabetes and knows what to do if you have a low blood sugar reaction, wear a medical
ID bracelet that says you have diabetes, and test your blood sugar often so you
know how your body reacts to exercise. There are three different types of
physical activity and they each benefit your body in different ways.
Aerobic exercise benefits your heart and lungs, resistance exercise also
called strength training builds muscles and increases endurance, and flexibility
exercises increase your range of motion. Let’s start with aerobic exercise. There are exercises during which you carry
your body weight on your feet like running or walking and other types of exercise
like swimming or bicycling during which your body weight is supported
by water or a machine. Both approaches give you the same healthy benefits. They burn calories, improve your heart
and circulation, reduce body fats, and improve your muscles ability to use blood
sugar more efficiently. If you have problems with pain or numbness
in your feet, you should consider doing exercises like swimming or bicycling rather
than walking or running because you’re not carrying your weight.
These activities are more gentle on your feet and on your joints. Let’s look at resistance training. You choose your muscles to generate force.
For example, lifting weights or household objects such as cans of soup or bottles of
water are a form of resistance training. Resistance training burns calories, reduces
body fat, and increases your metabolism, muscle strength, bone density,
and the body’s ability to use insulin and burn sugar. To find the right starting weight for you,
find something you can lift 12 or 15 times without getting tired. Once 15 lifts become easy, you can go from
a half gallon of something to a gallon or if you’re lifting weights, you can increase
the weight by 5 or 10 pounds. No matter what you are lifting, make sure
you breathe freely and try not to hold your breath. The aerobic exercise should be done
more frequently three to five times a week. Resistance exercise should be
done at least twice a week. If you have an amputation and you’re on
a wheelchair, you can do some of the same exercises in the wheelchair that
you would do on a regular chair. So, upper body exercises will still improve
your overall health as well as increase your wheelchair mobility. In addition to aerobics and resistance
training, you should also do some flexibility or stretching exercises. Yoga and Tai Chi help maintain balance
and many community center and gyms offer classes. You can also do this at home. Stretching keeps the joint healthy.
You can use stretching as a warm up and cool down for 5 to 10 minutes before
and after any type of physical activity. The stretches can be done almost anywhere
and what stretch does is move the joint through what we call a range of motion.
So, the goal is to stretch as long as you can to really flex those joints and another key factor is to do it slowly.
You don’t wanna bounce coz bouncing in a sudden jerking action can actually lead to
injury where stretching really is designed to help avoid injury and soreness. If you have diabetes, there are several
other things to think about when you start becoming physically active. Don’t ignore pain.
Stop if something hurts. Otherwise, you may cause stress
or damage to your joints. Examine your feet regularly.
For diabetes, you may not feel pain and won’t know if you have an injury
like a blister or an ulcer. Drink water before, during, and after
exercise so you don’t get dehydrated. Have some type of carbohydrates food available
like hard candy or crackers in case your blood sugar drops. Physical activity can sometimes cause
low blood sugar especially if you don’t carefully time your meals, medications,
and exercise schedule. I usually carry either banana, cracker,
or something with me and a bottle of water to help keep my blood sugar levels
normal so I don’t have a drop. It’s important for me to keep mine up because
I know once it started to drop I started to feel lightheaded. If you have diabetes and you’re exercising,
you should be aware of developing blurred vision, confusion,
sweatiness that’s more than what you would normally have with exercise or feeling
excessively hungry or shaky, those could all be signs of a low blood sugar
also called hypoglycemia. So if those symptoms occur, you should eat
at something with simple sugar in it such as a graham cracker or drink a drink
with simple sugar such as orange juice. It’s important to get specific shoes for
exercise because they can help to prevent injury by protecting your feet, your knees,
and your hips and also they provide the appropriate cushioning that you need
which is very different than your everyday sneakers. So, it’s important to go to a sporting
goods store to be specifically fitted for the correct walking and exercise shoes. Protect your feet daily when you have
diabetes because you may have developed an injury or a lesion particularly if
you something called neuropathy or you may have nerve damage from diabetes and don’t
feel when your feet are injured. So the things specifically that you should
talk to your doctor about are new cuts or bruises, calluses, redness or swelling
or anything else in your feet that’s of concern to you. It’s also helpful to set aside a certain
time each week to exercise. For example, if you plan to exercise every
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, marks those days on your calendar so you make
a real commitment to yourself. You wanna make exercise a habit so it becomes
part of your lifestyle routine, in other words, something you
do regularly every week. The benefits of exercise are actually
firmly short live so if you go out and take a walk, you lower your blood sugar,
but after a couple of days it will go right back up.
So, it’s important to do the exercise on a regular basis so that the
benefits are always there. The best approach to controlling diabetes
and preventing its complications are to take all of your medications as your
doctor directs and also to engage in an aerobic as well as resistance training as a form of exercise.
This does not only help to improve blood sugar, but also lowers blood pressure
and blood cholesterol. It is important to try to do at least some
form of exercise every other day. You don’t have to belong to a gym
to get the benefits of exercise. You can do little things throughout the
day to increase your physical activity. Going up and down stairs is great exercise. Stand up and walk around in the house
while you’re talking on the telephone. Some people find this more fun and
helpful to do it with a partner. The two of you can motivate and encourage
each other to stick with whatever type of physical activity you want to do. I find that exercise once you make it a part
of your regimen, it actually becomes easier not only that, it becomes fun.
The more I do, the more I enjoyed it. I really do.
So, if I don’t do it three times a week, I really miss it.
Agree about what you’re gonna to do this week and what you’re gonna do next week
and start with a little steps and then a big steps will take care of
themselves in the future. My weight has gotten a little smaller
but still not to the point where I feel comfortable at.
I have a long ways to go, but I haven’t given up, you know. I think – I think I can pull this one off. Before you know it, it’s just
that an everyday practice. It’s like breathing out and breathing
in, that’s something you do. We hope this program, helps you decide to move. Be sure to talk to your own doctor
or clinician if you have any questions or concerns about starting to
become physically active. Good luck and good health and have fun.