The short answer is: exercise is very good for people living with diabetes! Exercise is good for overall health, and diabetes is no exception.
But exactly what kind of exercise should you do? How much? How intense? And how often?
Those are the questions we'll be discussing below, so read on!
How does exercise impact diabetes and blood sugar?
If you're living with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, the effects of exercise can often be seen immediately!
If you check your blood sugar before you exercise, and then again roughly 20-30 minutes after completing your workout, you might be surprised to see just how much your blood sugar may drop.
One clinical study by the National Institute of Diabetes found that individuals who were at-risk for developing diabetes were 58% LESS LIKELY to develop diabetes if they got just 150 minutes of exercise each week.
Clearly exercise can have a big impact on blood sugar levels and diabetes, but how often should you exercise? That's what we will explore next.
How often should you exercise with diabetes?
Most studies indicate that if you're looking to lower blood sugar and improve type 2 diabetes, as little as 150 minutes per week may be enough to improve your condition.
That breaks down to just 20 minutes a day - a very achievable target.
There is certainly no harm in exercising more often, but consider 20 minutes every day to be a good place to start.
So if you're going to start exercising, what kind of exercise should you do?
What is the best type of exercise for type 2 diabetes?
Choosing the right type of exercise is CRUCIAL, and this is also where most people go wrong.
Most clinical studies have compared the effects of aerobic exercise (i.e. jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing) to strength training exercise (i.e. weight lifting, resistance training, calisthenics).
But on this subject, our opinion is a bit different from what the research found.
At Type2Diet we believe that the best possible exercise you can do to improve your diabetes is....
Any kind of exercise that you ENJOY.
Emphasis on ENJOY!!!
We actually wrote a whole article about this which you can check out here: how to enjoy exercising.
The reason why we have such a strong opinion about this is very simple:
If you don't enjoy the type of exercise you're doing, you won't stick with it!
And the only way to get the benefits out of exercise is if you make it a habit!
Closing thoughts on exercise for type 2 diabetes
Exercise can definitely play a really great supporting role in managing blood sugar levels for those with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes.
The type of exercise that you choosing is not nearly as important as making sure that you are consistently doing it!
Studies suggest that 150 minutes of exercise per week (about 20 minutes a day) is all it takes to radically reduce your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, and can greatly improve your condition if you've already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The type of exercise isn't really important - anything that gets your heart rate up will work!
Just make sure to make it a habit.
If you pick something fun, you'll be more likely to do it consistently.
If you want tips on making exercise fun, check out our blog here.
Now go get moving!