Diabetes Exercise Plan | Options For Staying In Shape

August 13, 2019 / Diabetic Digest

Staying Fit With A Proper Diabetes Exercise Plan

Managing diabetes is a task that presents many challenges that must be addressed daily. Key in managing diabetes is managing blood glucose levels. It could be said that from this one thing alone that all if not most challenges in regards to diabetes stem from. An incredible tool in facilitating good blood glucose management is diabetic activity planning. Maintaining some routine of daily physical activity will stimulate the metabolism and help the body process blood glucose more efficiently. This, in turn, will help preserve the life of a diabetic. To boot diabetic activity planning can create a host of other positive influences on a diabetic including weight management, confidence building, socializing, and countless others. In this article, I will discuss a few of the activities that I have come to enjoy as a diabetic that I can rightly say have changed my life. The first thing I’ll talk about is walking, a simple but profoundly rewarding activity that can be done by just about anyone. Secondly, I’ll write about an activity that has had such a unique influence on my life that I would be a completely different person without it. That activity is swimming. Such a rewarding activity! Third I’ll talk about my favorite pastime, surfing. There is literally nothing in the world like surfing! Lastly, I’ll discuss calisthenics and stretching which are so effective and can literally be done everywhere by everyone to some degree.

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Diabetic Exercise Plan

Walking for Diabetes

One of the most simple ways to get out and get some physical activity is by simply taking a daily walk. This is a very easy way of starting diabetic activity planning. Walking can be done by just about anyone who is not otherwise incapacitated and unable to walk. Later I’ll discuss options for diabetics that may be in a wheelchair having suffered an amputation or some other tragic event. From the research I’ve done on walking I’ve learned that it is best to walk for about an hour to really stimulate the blood flow and get the body in motion. This may be a lot for someone just starting out. What really is important is getting out there and making it happen. If as a beginner you can only walk for 1o minutes, then walk for 10 minutes at a time perhaps revisiting your stroll later in the day to see if you can achieve an additional 10 minutes. Every individual is going to have their own thresholds as far as stamina, flexibility, exposure to the elements, and other factors that come along with walking. Eventually, no matter where the starting point is, everyone will see results if they are consistent and aim to make improvements in their stride daily. Weight loss is very common with diabetics who take up walking regularly. Mood enhancement is a very common side effect as getting out in the fresh air and sunshine can brighten even the worst of attitudes. It’s not uncommon to develop social skills while walking as you may encounter people, dogs, friends, birds, etc…Walking, quite simply is an easy activity that we as humans were designed to do. In terms of diabetic activity, planning walking is a staple that can be relied on day after day to help regulate blood glucose levels as well as manage weight. Personally, I have noticed dramatic reductions in blood glucose levels from walking, some of them at rather inconvenient times. This has shown me that walking alone can be a great activity in the scheme of managing diabetes. For a diabetic that is essentially the goal. To maintain perfect blood glucose levels at all times. This, as it sounds, is virtually impossible. Diabetic activity planning can play such a big part in keeping blood glucose levels in an ideal range, and walking may be one of the easiest most accessible ways of getting some physical activity.

Swimming for Diabetes

Swimming is another activity that can greatly enhance the life of a diabetic. While swimming in a pool, lake, or the ocean the body is in a liquid and relieves the bones and joints of carrying the weight of the body. This is the factor that makes swimming different from all other physical activities done on the land. Because of this factor, swimming can be a great activity for those diabetics who have suffered injury, are overweight, or are incapacitated in any other way. Swimming does have a learning curve that must be met for anyone interested and that is the ability to continually reach the surface of the water for air. There are several devices that can make swimming easier or possible for just about anyone. Some of these devices are floats of differing kinds, pool buoys, pool noodles, float harnesses, bodyboards, surfboards, etc…Honestly when it comes to swimming, if there is a will there is a way. Swimming is a magnificent way to maintain blood glucose control not to mention stay in great physical shape. While swimming, every muscle in the body is used while remaining a low impact activity that won’t impact joints like running. Swimming, like walking, can be done with varying levels of skill. For some swimming 6000 meters is a good workout while others might be better off doing a half hour or so of water aerobics. Each individual will have to gauge their skill level and interest to enjoy swimming in their own respective way. I personally was fortunate enough to learn swimming at a very young age and some of my earliest and best memories are of swimming in a community pool. It wasn’t until college that I took a deeper interest in swimming so that I could feel more confident in the water when I went surfing. Though I had always been a confident swimmer and surfer I began taking swimming classes at the local junior college. This I can relate to you was a life-changing experience. My health was very good. My blood sugars rarely were out of line, I lost a lot of weight and arguably got myself into the best shape of my life. I continued taking swimming classes until I reached advanced swimming and eventually even learned the challenging Butterfly stroke. This was a pinnacle in life for me as though I had loved swimming my whole life I never thought that I would ever have a Butterfly Stroke in my quiver. Swimming is an incredible activity that can improve the quality of anyone’s life. In relation to diabetes, swimming is a perfect activity in that it can be enjoyed by just about anyone and is such a great way to help regulate blood glucose levels and maintain a regular source of diabetic activity planning.

Surfing for Diabetes

One of the things that has brought more joy to me than almost anything is surfing. I have had the good fortune of living along the California coastline almost my entire life. With coastal living, comes surfing. The 2 go hand in hand. Some may not participate actively but take great joy from resting on the shore watching the waves roll in. There is a peace there unlike anywhere else in the world. Surfing is a perfect way to get some exercise and sun while simultaneously having the veritable time of your life. In a way, surfing combines the benefits of upper and lower body exercise all at the same time. First, in order to catch a wave, you are on your stomach paddling and using primarily your arms, shoulders, and abdomen. Next, once you catch the wave you have to pop up to your feet where your quadriceps, calves, glutes, and abdomen take control of the motion of the board. Upon catching the wave you are overwhelmed with a sense of stoke that only comes from riding down the face of the way. It is an exhilarating experience that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Surfing can be done at many different levels. For some catching the perfect barrel at Pipeline in Hawaii might be the daily routine. For another simply getting to their feet and riding ankle-high surf to the shore is just as exciting. Surfing like swimming does have a learning curve. Swimming is an ability you should have if you endeavor to take up surfing. Surfing also can have some start-up costs. Things like a surfboard, a wetsuit, transportation for your equipment, and sunscreen are some of the things to consider before taking up surfing. Don’t let anything stop you from surfing if it is something that you feel compelled to do. Take a coastal vacation, rent a board, and take some lessons. The rewards are countless as well as the stories you’ll be able to tell your friends about your adventure. In terms of diabetic activity planning surfing is ideal. Something to consider for a diabetic is to always make sure you are prepared to deal with a low blood glucose level should the necessity arise.

Stretching for Diabetes

A great way to plan some activity as a diabetic is to have a daily routine of calisthenics and stretching which can be done from the comforts of your own living room. As a matter of fact, some sort of calisthenics and stretching can be done by anybody anywhere. There really is no need to pay for an expensive monthly gym membership when you can get a great workout at a park, at the beach, in a hotel room, in front of the television, and just about anywhere. Some of my favorite exercises from home are pushups, squats, curls, and stretching. Pushups can be done in a number of different ways and can be fashioned for any level of fitness. They are great for the arms, back, chest, shoulders, and abdomen. Squats too can vary in style and intensity to match the individual. Chair squats are a great example of this where you simply use the chair as a support and squat up and down from the chair. Curls are a great exercise at building arms, chest, and shoulders. At home, I use gallon water bottles as weights and they work perfectly. Coupled with these exercises I do several stretches for my calves, groin, hamstrings, shoulders, back, arms, and neck. This practice at home has immensely helped improve my strength and conditioning which compliment all other aspects of my life including, swimming, surfing, and confidence levels. Diabetic activity planning is very important for a diabetic and simple calisthenics and stretching exercises like these can be done anywhere and by anyone to some degree.

Activity is Good for Diabetics

Diabetic activity planning is a crucial part of managing diabetes. Taking the time to regularly get some physical activity can not only help to regulate blood glucose levels, but also help maintain a healthy weight, boost confidence, and even promote good social skills. In this article, I have talked about walking which is the easiest most functional way for a diabetic to get out and get some regular activity. I also talked about swimming which is a very low impact activity and can be enjoyed in many different ways. Third I wrote about surfing which has for many years been my favorite pastime. Surfing is an extremely rewarding activity that, like walking and swimming can be enjoyed by just about anyone however at differing levels. Lastly, I mentioned calisthenics and stretching. These two can be done by anyone and from anywhere to some degree. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing for physical activity be it bicycling, hiking, tennis, or rollerskating getting out and getting some physical activity regularly can be integral in managing diabetes. Greater control of blood glucose level fluctuations, weight loss, and increased cardiovascular health are just some of the many benefits of having regularly scheduled diabetic activity planning.

About Our Guest Writer:

Tim Delaney, Content Writer.  Tim studied Environmental Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  He is an avid outdoor enthusiast, loves to surf, is passionate about health, and discovering ways to enjoy life with diabetes.

Tim Delaney

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Staying In Shape With Diabetes FAQs

Which exercise is best for managing glucose levels?

There is no one best exercise specifically for managing glucose levels. All exercise will affect your glucose levels, and some will affect it more than others, so be careful to monitor your glucose closely whenever exercising, and be sure to give your body the fuel it needs, even if the goal is weight loss.

Can I exercise too much as a diabetic?

We can all push ourselves too hard, but it is easier to push too hard more quickly when diabetic. Keep in mind that the goal of exercising is fitness. Pushing harder when starting a new exercise is normal, but you should always be aware of your energy and fluid levels, and you have to include glucose level to that list when you’re diabetic.

Can I run a 10K if I’m diabetic?

Probably. Have you ever run before? Do you currently exercise? Running a 10K is a good goal to pursue to achieve or maintain fitness, and if it seems like fun, go for it. Be careful monitoring your glucose and always carry some emergency calories. It may be a good idea to wear a medical alert bracelet, just in case, and it wouldn’t hurt to ask your doctor for advice.

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