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How exercise helps you manage diabetes

January 16, 2015 16:09 IST

It's fine to start slow and work up. As long as you're totalling 30 minutes of exercise each day, you are fine, says Dhruv Gupta

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Photograph: Brian Carson/Wikimedia Commons

Indians are genetically more prone to diabetes and therefore is also known as the diabetes capital of the world. While there could be many reasons that cause type 2 diabetes, obesity and lack of physical activity are two of the most common causes of this form of diabetes.

While it is important to manage your diet one also needs to be physically more active to help control the blood sugar levels better.

Here, you can see the benefits of exercise to help you manage diabetes.

When you have diabetes, your body can't properly use the energy from the food you eat. This problem is closely tied to how your body makes and uses insulin.

In both types of diabetes, sugar builds up in your bloodstream because it cannot enter the cells. In type 1 diabetes, your body makes little or no insulin. This is called insulin deficiency.

In type 2 diabetes, your body makes insulin, but your cells do not use it as effectively as they should. This is called insulin resistance.

Also, your ability to make insulin can gradually decrease as time goes by. Without sugar for fuel in the cells, your body lacks energy. Sugar stays in your blood and you have high blood sugar levels.

Exercise is the most natural way to help manage your sugar.

Glucose is metabolised better in the body, when you exercise. Muscle movement leads to greater sugar uptake by muscle cells and helps lower blood sugar levels.

Additional benefits of exercise include a healthier heart, better weight control and stress management.

However, the prospect of diving into a workout routine may be intimidating. If you're like many newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics, you may not have exercised in years.

If that's the case, don't worry: It's fine to start slow and work up. As long as you're totalling 30 minutes of exercise each day, you are fine.

You can start with breaking the 30 minute activity through the day. You can assign 15 minutes of walking post each of your meals, followed by some moderate level of strength training exercises later in the evening or early morning.

The idea is to manage your diabetes better and to do that you got to get more active.

Dhruv Gupta