10 Muscle Moves to Help Tame Diabetes
Why Do Strength Training?
If you have diabetes, you know the importance of controlling your blood sugar. But did you know that strength training can play a starring role? Simple moves done regularly can prompt your muscles to absorb more sugar. You’ll also burn more calories around the clock when you take up strength training. Your mood, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure may improve, too.
Beginning an Exercise Program
Most people with diabetes can work out safely, but check with your doctor first. You should aim for strength training at least twice a week, and cardio either 5 days a week for 30 minutes, or 3 days for 50 minutes. Always exercise caution, and if a move doesn’t feel right, check with a fitness expert. Flexibility work can be helpful too, especially if you haven’t broken a sweat in a while
Your Strength Training Routine
Get ready to learn 10 at-home exercises that work your major muscle groups. For each one, begin with one set of 10-15 repetitions. Rest 30-120 seconds before the next move. Start with resistance bands or light dumbbells that allow you to focus on form. When you can do two or three sets easily, grab heavier weights. You should eventually use weights that you can lift only 8-10 times in the first set.
Upper Body: Standing Biceps Curl
Grab a dumbbell in each hand, and stand with your palms facing your thighs. Squeeze your biceps as you lift the weights. On the way up, your forearm should rotate so your palms end up facing your shoulders at the top. Lower the weights slowly to starting position. Control your movement on the way down, so momentum doesn’t take over.
Upper Body: Triceps Extension
Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other, and hold a single dumbbell with both hands wrapped around the handle. Slowly raise the dumbbell overhead. Straighten your elbows as you raise the weight toward the ceiling. Slowly bend your elbows and lower the weight behind your head. Keep your upper arms still and vertical to the floor. Keep your shoulder blades down and back as you repeat
Upper Body: Shoulder Press
You can do the shoulder press while sitting or standing. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and raise them until they are level with your ears. Your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle. This is your starting position. Now push the weights up, until your arms are fully extended. Slowly lower to the starting position
Upper Body: Chest Press
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at chest level and raise them above your chest until your elbows are straight but not locked. Pause a second and then slowly lower the weights toward your chest.
Upper Body: Seated Row
Sit on the floor with your feet together and your knees bent. Hold a dumbbell or the end of a resistance band in each hand with your arms straight in front of you, palms facing each other. Keeping your back straight, bend the elbows as you pull the weights/bands to your sides. Keep your elbows close to your body, and slowly straighten your arms.
Core: Classic Crunch
Lie on your back, feet flat on the floor, knees bent. Put your hands behind your head. Pull your shoulder blades together and your elbows back. The elbows should aim sideways and stay there throughout the exercise.Squeeze the abs, and curl your shoulders and upper back off the floor. Lower slowly, keeping your lower back pressed to the floor at all times
Lie face down with your elbows directly under your shoulders, palms down, and your toes tucked under. From this starting position, tighten your abs as you lift your torso and thighs off the floor. You’ll be supported by only your toes and forearms. Hold this position for 5 seconds or more. Keep the back straight as you slowly lower to the starting position
Lower Body: Squat
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and lower yourself as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair. Your thighs should be parallel to the ground, and your knees should not push forward past your toes. Lean forward slightly as you stand back up. You can also do squats while leaning against a stability ball placed between your back and a wall.
Lower Body: Lunges
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart, and step your right leg back, bending the knee toward the floor without allowing it to touch. Your left thigh should be nearly parallel with the floor. Press down on the left heel and bring the right leg back to a neutral stance. Do 8-12 repetitions, and then change sides, stepping back with the left leg. To make the lunges more challenging, hold a dumbbell in each hand.
Lower Body: Hamstring Curl
Hold on to the back of a chair. Flex your left foot and bend the knee, bringing your heel toward your buttocks. Keep your right leg slightly bent. Lower your left foot to the floor. Do 8-12 reps, and then repeat with the right leg. To make this exercise more challenging, ask your doctor if it is safe for you to wear ankle weights.
Strength Training and Blood Sugar
If you take certain diabetes medications, you may need to take precautions to prevent a dangerous drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Ask your doctor if you should check your blood sugar or eat a snack before working out. Keep snacks or glucose tablets with you when you’re exercising, in case you develop symptoms of low blood sugar, such as shaking or weakness
Strength Training and Insulin
If you take insulin, you may need to adjust the dose before and after exercise. Begin with a gentle workout to see how it affects your blood sugar. Check your levels before, during, and after exercise. If you work out within an hour or two of a meal, you may need to reduce your mealtime insulin dose. Check with your doctor before making any insulin changes. Oral diabetes medicines may also need to be lowered when you exercise.
Who Should Not Lift Weights?
Weightlifting is not recommended for people with diabetes-related eye problems (such as retinopathy) that are not being treated. Likewise, very intense cardio work is not a good idea with untreated retinopathy. Both can increase pressure in the eyes. If you have nerve damage in your feet, sitting or lying on the floor may be a better bet than standing. Remember, check with your doctor before beginning a fitness program
Can It Be Prevented?
One of the most surprising things about type 2 diabetes is that you can avoid it. To lower your risk, follow the same guidelines for warding off heart disease:
Eat a healthy diet.
Exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
Stay at a healthy weight.
Talk to your doctor about being tested for pre diabetes. People with pre diabetes can avoid getting diabetes with lifestyle changes and medication.
Relaxation Is Key
Stress can boost your blood pressure and blood sugar. Some people don’t do anything for it. Others turn to food to cope with it. Instead, practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or visualization. Talking to a friend, family member, counselor, or a religious leader could help. If you can’t beat it, reach out to your doctor.
Risk Factors You Can Control
Some health habits and medical conditions related to your lifestyle can raise your odds of having type 2 diabetes, including:
Being overweight, especially at the waist
A couch potato lifestyle
Eating a lot of red meat, processed meat, high-fat dairy products, and sweets Unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels
11 Exercise Tips for Type 2 Diabetes
Exercise is sure to be on your to-do list if you have diabetes. Get started with these go-to tips:
- Make a list of fun activities. You have lots of options, and you don’t have to go to a gym. What sounds good? Think about something you’ve always wanted to try or something you enjoyed in the past. Sports, dancing, yoga, walking, and swimming are a few ideas. Anything that raises your heart rate
- Get your doctor’s OK. Let them know what you want to do. They can make sure you’re ready for it. They’ll also check to see if you need to change your meals,insulin, or diabetes medicines. Your doctor can also let you know if the time of day you exercise matters.
- Check your blood sugar. Ask your doctor if you should check it before exercise. If you plan to work out for more than an hour, check your blood sugar levels regularly during your workout, so you’ll know if you need a snack. Check your blood sugar after every workout, so that you can adjust if
- Carry carbs. Always keep a small carbohydrate snack, like fruit or a fruit drink, on hand in case your blood sugar gets
- Ease into it. If you’re not active now, start with 10 minutes of exercise at a time. Gradually work up to 30 minutes a
- Strength train at least twice a week. It can improve blood sugar control. You can lift weights or work with resistance bands. Or you can do moves like push-ups, lunges, and squats, which use your own body weight.
- Make it a habit. Exercise, eat, and take your medicines at the same time each day to prevent low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia.
- Go public. Work out with someone who knows you have diabetes and knows what to do if your blood sugar gets too low. It’s more fun, too. Also wear a medical identification tag, or carry a card that says you have diabetes, just in
- Be good to your feet. Wear athletic shoes that are in good shape and are the right type for your activity. For instance, don’t jog in tennis shoes, because your foot needs a different type of support when you run. Check and clean your feet daily. Let your doctor know if you notice any new foot problems.
- Hydrate, Drink water before,during and after exercise
- Stop if something suddenly hurts. If your muscles are mildly sore, that’s normal. Sudden pain isn’t. You’re not likely to get injured unless you do too much, too soon.
Get Your Diabetes Exercise Plan On Track
You’ve heard it a million times: Exercise is really important, especially since you have diabetes. Even if you know it’s true, sometimes it takes more than that to get motivated, though.
If you aren’t already active, you need a workout plan that works for you. Here are some tips to start a routine and stick to it.
Talk to the Doc
Ask your doctor or nurse what activities are best for you and how intense they should be.
Cranking up the treadmill or hitting the heavy weights right away isn’t a good idea if you haven’t exercised in a while, or ever. It might even be dangerous. If you take insulin or other diabetes medication, physical activity may make your blood sugar to drop too low.
And if you have any other health problems from diabetes, like heart disease or high blood pressure, there might be some types of exercise you should avoid altogether.
Make a Plan and Be Accountable
Chart out a routine — the days, times, and length of your workout sessions. Keep a log of your exercise and your blood sugar levels, too.
That will help you track your progress and see how your workouts are making a difference. It will also make you more accountable for times you miss a session or when you might not have done enough. And you can start to see patterns, like days, times, or types of exercise that work better for you.
But don’t set goals you know you can’t meet. If you’ve never been able to wake up early to spend an hour at the gym before work, that shouldn’t be your plan now. Doctors recommend 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity almost every day, but you don’t have to find time to do it all at once. Break it up into 10- or 15-minute sessions.
And reward yourself when you meet your goals! Splurge on some new workout clothes, a massage, or more songs for your playlist.
Being active doesn’t have to mean lacing up new sneakers and signing up for a marathon. Start with a single step. Walking is less strenuous and safe for most people with diabetes. From there you can work your way up to more intense exercise.
There are also easy ways to add movement to the things that already fill your busy day.
- Do some jumping jacks or get up and stretch during TV commercial breaks.
- Walk around while you talk on the
- At work, skip the elevator and take the
- Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk
- Stretch your chores — take two trips to the garage to unload groceries instead of one
Often it seems like the only thing harder than starting a workout routine is sticking with one. Once you’ve been at it for a while, sometimes you might feel like you’ve stopped getting results, or you lose interest at the gym.
Here’s what you can do if that happens:
- Switch It Up. Feel like a hamster on the treadmill? Try the elliptical machine. Tired of the gym? Ride your bike outside. Simple tweaks like that can pull you out of your funk, test different muscles, and lower your risk of
- Find a Friend. Talking to a workout buddy helps the time pass. They can also motivate you to stick to your
- Make It Fun. If you enjoy being outdoors, take a hike. Like the water? Do some laps at the pool. Even if you’re a couch potato, park the exercise bike in front of the TV. Working out doesn’t have to be a chore
Healthy eating for blood sugar control
If you have diabetes, a healthy eating plan for you is not that different from a healthy eating plan for people without diabetes. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) echoes the dietary guidelines recommended for the general public — that is, a diet centered on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (peas and beans), and low-fat dairy products.
However, you’ll want to pay special attention to your carbohydrate intake.
Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains provide more nutrition per calorie than refined carbohydrates and tend to be rich in fiber. Your body digests high-fiber foods more slowly — which means a more moderate rise in blood sugar.
For most people with diabetes, carbohydrates should account for about 45% to 55% of the total calories you eat each day. Choose your carbohydrates wisely — ideally, from vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Avoid highly refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and rice, as well as candy, sugary soft drinks, and sweets. Refined carbohydrates tend to cause sharp spikes in blood sugar, and can even boost triglycerides and lower helpful HDL cholesterol.
Fiber comes in two forms: insoluble fiber, the kind found in whole grains, and soluble fiber, found in beans, dried peas, oats, and fruits. Soluble fiber in particular appears to lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity, which may mean you need less diabetes medicine. And a number of studies suggest that eating plenty of fiber reduces the chances of developing heart disease — and people with diabetes need to do all they can to lower their risk
Practical Recommendations When Participating In Physical Activity For Persons With Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes
(American Council on Exercise)
Check with Your Physician
You may need to limit the intensity of physical activity especially if any disease complications are present.
You may want to join a supervised program for guidance and assistance, especially if you are not physically active for a long period of time.
Self Blood Glucose Monitoring (SBGM)
Perform before and after each physical activity session. Excellent cognitive training for diabetics to understand individual glucose response to physical activity. It is important to understand that your blood glucose is relatively in good control before beginning higher intensity physical activity. If your bllod glucose is
>250 mg/dl, then higher intensity physical activity should be postponed:
<100 mg/dl, then eat a snack consisting of carbohydrates Between 100 – 250 mg/dl, then physical activity can be performed
Keep a daily log
Record value and time of the day the SBGM is performed and amount/timing of any pharmacologic agent ( oral drug or insulin).
Record time, intensity (heart rate) and distance (miles) of each activity session. Plan for an exercise session.
How much activity is anticipated? (time, intensity etc) If needed carry extra carbohydrate feedings
Exercise with Partner
Affords a support system for the physical activity habit. Initially diabetic should exercise with a partner until glucose response is known.
Wear a Diabetes ID.
Never leave home without it. Hypoglycemia and other problems can arise that requires an understanding of the condition.
Wear Good Shoes
Proper fitting and Comfortable foot wear can minimize foot irritations and sores, and reduce the occurrence of orthopedic injuries to the foot and lower leg.
Practice Good Hygenie
Always take extra care to inspect feet for any irritation spots tp prevent possible infection. Tend to all sores immediately. Report hard to heal sores to your physician. Prevent irritations while physically active by using Vaseline on feet and wearing socks inside out.
Modify Caloric Intake Accordingly.
Through frequent SBGM, caloric intake can be regulated more carefully on days of and following physical activity. For insulin requiring diabetics blood glucose can drop after physical activity and latent post exercise hypoglycemia can be prevented. Also in consultation with your physician a decrease in insulin dosage may be necessary.
Source : American Council On Exercise, American Diabetes Association