Amy Tenderich was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May of 2003. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Diabetes Mine and co-authored the book Know Your Numbers, Outlive Your Diabetes. You will frequently find her speaking at diabetes, health, and social media events across the country.
We all know that we’re supposed to exercise because it brings our blood sugar down, but it often seems like just another time-consuming diabetes chore—something we have to do over and over again without any real rewards. Right?
Actually there are rewards, both now and later.
Physical activity lowers blood glucose (BG) levels by improving your body’s ability to use both glucose and insulin. In fact, experts agree that aside from insulin, the most effective tool for glucose control is activity―any type of activity that moves your body through space.
It also helps reverse the resistance to insulin that’s often a result of being inactive or overweight. It has numerous healthful side effects, too, like lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol. And it makes you feel surprisingly good.
Personally, I find that with regular workouts, I feel more relaxed and my clothes fit better. When my eating gets a little out of control, exercise snaps me back on track. That is, I may be hungrier, but I’m hungry for better foods, like salad and apples and lean meat, instead of chips and sweets.
3 important things to keep in mind
- Exercise is the most effective and portable stress-management tool on the market. It's a powerful natural anti-depressant.
- Health-wise, being physically fit is much more important than being “skinny."
- If there’s ever been a case where "something is better than nothing," it’s moving your body.
We cannot overemphasize the importance of being physically active. Regular exercise eases tension and anxiety, improves sleep, gives you more energy and a sense of well-being, and even improves your sex life, according to clinical studies. Exercise makes you feel better about yourself, your quality of life, and your independence. In addition, nothing goes further toward staving off diabetic complications.
But don’t take my word for it; check out the global initiative called Exercise is Medicine.
The 8 major health benefits of exercise
Reduces insulin resistance
Improves your glucose control, thus helping to lower your A1c
Reduces your blood pressure
Lowers your LDL numbers (“bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides
Helps raise low HDL numbers (i.e. increases your “good” cholesterol)
Reduces your chance of heart disease
Improves your mood
Helps with weight control
So, are you getting regular exercise? And if you're not, isn't it time to start? Remember, any movement is good movement. If you need to start slow, that's totally okay! Make a plan and get going. You'll be happy you did.