Physical exercise in diabetes


Physical exercise is considered a cornerstone in diabetes management, along with diet and medication. However, if you are diabetic, you should consider these guidelines and tips before practicing sports.

Physical activity must be carried out regularly. It is safe for people with diabetes to exercise for 30 continuous minutes, once a day, at least three days a week.

All types of physical activities most recommended for a diabetic are aerobic exercise, resistance exercise (weight), and flexibility exercise.

Aerobic exercise for diabetics

It is done at low or moderate intensity and is long-lasting. It is the one that uses large muscle groups, such as the legs and arms, without the use of weight and in a rhythmic way. Exercise is better known as cardiovascular since our heart and lungs can supply our muscles with all the nutrients and oxygen necessary to perform this activity.

Resistance exercise for diabetes

It uses the muscular force of certain muscles to move a counterweight. This exercise usually requires more nutrients and oxygen for the muscles to perform than what our heart and lungs can provide. For this reason, it is an anaerobic exercise. It produces the typical stiffness. As long as there is no medical contraindication, it should be done with a certain weight viable to strengthen the muscle.

It is recommended to start with a weight of 2-3 kg and gradually increase the weight used according to tolerance. For each muscle group, a recovery period of at least 48 hours is recommended. The resistance exercises that are most recommended are:

  • ABS.
  • Back (dorsal).
  • Arms (pecs, delts, traps, biceps, and triceps).
  • Legs ( Glutes, quadriceps, biceps femoris, and calves)

Flexibilizing exercise for people with diabetes

It focuses on muscle stretching and the movement of each joint. Diabetic people are more prone to joint wear, muscle tears, and tendons since excess sugar in the body degenerates cells earlier. For this reason, before and after physical exercise, it is very important to perform flexible exercises.

A stretching program that includes the entire body: the spine, legs, and arms is recommended as a flexible exercise. In addition, other activities with a playful touch that focus on body stretching are yoga, Pilates, gymnastics, or ballet.

There are some details of physical exercise to take into account:

  • When we speak of moderate-intensity, it means that you must exercise vigorously enough to be able to speak, but not sing, during the activity.
  • If you have been sedentary for a long time, my advice is to start in a staggered way, first between 5 and 10 minutes, and gradually increase the pace and time for better tolerance.

It is important to do a medical evaluation before starting a more vigorous exercise program to which you are accustomed. Sports such as cycling, trekking, Nordic walking, swimming, etc., are recommended for people with a higher level of physical training.

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