Physical fitness can help you control your blood sugar levels and have a positive impact on overall wellbeing.

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Physical activity and some level of exercise is very important to maintain the health of diabetes patients. Regular exercise will help your body use insulin. This controls your blood sugar. It will burn off extra body fat and strengthen your muscles and bones besides lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol and stress levels. Even moderate physical activity will improve blood flow and boost energy and mood. Moreover, you will bring down your risk of heart diseases and stroke too.

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Researchers from the European Society of Cardiology say that patients with type 2 diabetes should be prescribed exercises to control blood sugar and improve heart health. This was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. According to them, sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets are to blame for increase in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems like heart attacks. If patients are fitter, it will reduce mortality risks, they say. Unfortunately, most diabetes patients are not physically active.

Cardiovascular complications are very common in people with diabetes. And regular exercise is the best way to manage diabetes complications. But, of course, doctors need to recommend exercises only after assessing patients for comorbidities, risks related to exercise and personal preferences. This is also cost effective in the long run.

Regular exercise will improve levels of blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. If you are diabetic, the importance of exercise cannot be stressed enough. It is important that you keep your doctor informed about your fitness plans. You can also ask him about the best time to exercise and he can also explain the impact of medications on your blood sugar as you become more active.

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Here, we help you along with a few tips that will get you off to a good start.

GET PERSONALIZED EXERCISE PLAN FROM DOCTORS

Patients can request their doctor to give them a personalised exercise plan, suggest researchers. But you can take small steps in this direction on your own too. Try going for a walk and do some moderate cycling. Get up frequently if you sit for long durations. Set up achievable goals and share regular feedback with your doctor, who may need to adjust your medication due to better glycaemic control.

Regular exercise will improve cardio respiratory fitness and lead to better diabetes control. It will also lower blood pressure and keep harmful blood lipids in check. But researchers caution that this exercise regime should focus more on nutrition and not lose itself on weight loss. They also say that plans must be personalised for each patient and focus should be on high intensity interval training. This is very effective in controlling blood sugar, they say.

TAKE CARE OF FEET

Always wear clean socks and proper shoes. If you find any blisters, redness or irritation on your feet, take immediate action.

STAY HYDRATED

Sip on water at regular intervals. Avoid dehydration at all costs. And don’t expose yourself to harsh temperatures before and after workout.

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START SLOW

Build up tempo gradually.Control your diabetes with moderate exercises like walking, dancing or biking. Do this for around 10 minutes every day and gradually increase it to 30 minutes a day. You will find it easier and this will not put too much pressure on your body. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activities every week. This can include fast walking, lap swimming and bicycling.

CHECK SUGAR LEVELS

You must always check your blood sugar levels before and after exercise. Sometimes, while working out, you may experience a drop in your sugar levels. Always carry glucose tablets, sugary drinks or any other fast-acting carbohydrate to revive yourself if this happens. Stop exercising if sugar levels go down and wait till it stabilizes. If you’re taking insulin or other medications that can cause low blood sugar, test your blood sugar half an hour before exercising.

STRENGTH TRAIN

Do this at least twice a week because it can improve blood sugar control. You can lift weights or work with resistance bands. Push-ups, lunges and squats will also count.

BE ACTIVE THROUGHOUT THE DAY

Don’t be a couch potato when you are not working out. Move around. Do little things around the house. Dance to your favourite song. Go swimming. This will increase your physical fitness.

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EXERCISE DOS AND DON’TS FOR ASSOCIATED COMPLICATIONS

If you have any diabetes complications, you need to be careful before embarking on your fitness journey. We list a few complications and reveal what you need to do if you suffer from any of them.

PROLIFERATIVE DIABETIC RETINOPATHY

This is an advanced stage of diabetic eye disease. It happens when the retina starts growing new blood vessels. This is called neovascularisation. These new vessels often bleed into the vitreous.

The right move: If you suffer from this condition, avoid strenuous lifting and high-impact activities. Also, avoid poses that require you to be in an inverted position for extended periods of time.

DIABETIC PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY

This is nerve damage due to uncontrolled diabetes. It causes numbness, loss of sensation and sometimes pain in your feet, legs or hands. It is a very common complication of diabetes.

The right move: Avoid high impact exercises as it can cause ulceration and fractures. Instead choose low impact and non-weight bearing exercises.

ADVANCED KIDNEY DISEASE

Kidney disorder is a very common fallout of diabetes. Also known as diabetic nephropathy or diabetic kidney disease, this condition is a result of vascular abnormalities that can be fatal.

The right move: If you suffer from any kidney related disorder, always do only low to moderate intensity exercises. And, consult your doctor before embarking on any fitness regime.

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