Excess weight can be detrimental to your health. Among the biggest health concerns associated with being overweight is the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Nearly 9 out of 10 people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes are overweight, according to the American Diabetes Association. The good news is that when type 2 diabetics lose as little as 8 percent of their body weight, they can better control their diabetes and lower their risk for cardiovascular disease. Weight loss also can lead to reductions in medications for hypertension, diabetes, and elevated lipids.¹
Benefits of Exercise
Along with proper diet, exercise is a critical component in weight loss and maintenance, and the benefits of exercise for type 2 diabetics are substantial. Exercise can help prevent cardiovascular disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and other diabetes-related complications. Regular exercise has been shown to improve lipid profiles, which is critical since individuals with elevated blood glucose also have an increase in blood fats. These blood fats become the primary energy source for the body and put diabetics at risk for heart disease.
Before beginning any type of exercise routine, it is critical to consult with your primary care physician. You should also go through a diabetes self-management course to learn about healthy eating, physical activity, weight loss, blood sugar monitoring, and recognition of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Once you have been cleared to exercise, these guidelines can ensure a safe and effective exercise session.
- Check blood glucose before exercise: If your pre-exercise blood glucose level is below 100 mg/dL or above 300 mg/dL, you should not exercise. Follow guidelines from your physician should these situations arise.
- Begin and end slowly: A gradual warm-up and cool-down period should be part of every exercise session. The warm-up should consist of 5-10 minutes of light aerobic activity and gentle stretching and the cool-down should last 5-10 minutes, gradually bringing your heart rate down to its pre-exercise level.