Healthy Living with Diabetes

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Healthy Living with Diabetes

By Dawn R. West, Nutrition Student, University of Alabama
According to the Center for Disease Control, Diabetes is a classified as chronic (long- term) health condition that will affect how the body converts food into energy. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). Each of these types of diabetes should be properly diagnosed by a physician through a full health assessment. There isn’t a cure for diabetes, but losing or maintaining a proper weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help with diabetes management.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends aiming for 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week or a total of 150 minutes per week.
Aerobic exercise is beneficial for people with diabetes because it helps the body use insulin better. Other benefits include making the heart and bones strong, improving blood circulation as well as aiding with stress reduction. It also reduces heart disease risk for the heart by lowering blood glucose and blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.
What is considered moderate exercise? Moderate intensity excise hard enough that a you can still talk while doing the activity.
What is considered vigorous exercise? Vigorous intensity means you cannot talk, more than a few words, without needing a breath while doing the activity.
Additionally, strength training is considered an important type of exercise for diabetes management. ADA recommends a form of strength training activity at least 2 times per week. Strength training makes the body more sensitive to insulin, which can help lower blood glucose. Strength training helps in maintaining and building strong bones and muscles, which will aid in reducing the risk for bone fractures and osteoporosis.
What are considered strength training activities? A few examples and recommendations of strength training activities include lifting weights at the gym, use of resistance bands, or even modified light weight lifting such as water bottles or objects at home, strength training exercise classes, or other activities that will help to build and maintain muscle like heavy yardwork or landscaping.
Suggestions and helpful tips for getting in the recommended weekly amount of exercise:
 Exercise with a friend or family member, don’t forget family pets that would benefit from walking too.
 Join a fitness class and pick a style of exercise you enjoy!
 Try exercise DVDs at home, there are many DVDs available that include strength training and aerobic routines.
 Schedule planned exercise throughout the week and make sure you have exercise clothing and shoes that fit properly and are comfortable to wear.
 With increased activity be mindful to stay hydrated and increase your water intake.
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