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The Older Type-II Diabetic and Exercise

Aug 18, 2007
It is important for all individuals to maintain an active lifestyle for good mental and physical health. It is just as important for the older person who has type-2 diabetes to stay physically active for their good health. The reason is that exercise can actually improve the sugar control that is so important to managing diabetes. Contracting and relaxing muscles uses up energy.

As the body produces energy it uses the sugar supply in the blood during the time that you are exercising. This reduces the blood sugar level in your system. Exercise also increases the body's ability to use insulin. This equates to your body needing less insulin in the process of taking sugar into your body cells, which can also reduce the blood sugar levels.

It is wise to let your physician know that you are thinking about starting a new exercise program. Your doctor will advise you regarding your diabetes and how to design a program around your ability, age and health needs.

Some of the questions you may have:

How long to exercise? How Often? How hard do you exercise?

Normally you need to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes in order to improve you fitness level. If you have difficulty doing 30 minutes, start out at 10, then increase to 15 until in a few weeks you work up to 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Those persons needing to lose weight you may want to set a goal of 60 or more minutes of exercise.

Three times a week is how often to exercise that is usually recommended, your physician can give you a better individual guideline.

Determining how hard to exercise may be a little more difficult. In order to determine the degree of exercise, it's extremely helpful to determine your heart rate. Some exercise equipment comes with monitors to help you determine this. You want to increase your heart rate and breathing rate to sufficient levels so that you are doing your heart well without causing exhaustion. Generally if you can sing while doing the exercise, you are not exercising hard enough. If you can talk, but are a little out of breath, you are at the appropriate level. If, however you cannot talk at all during exercising, you are in the "too hard" level and you need to take it down a level.

Exercise Tips:

Start with mild exercising if you have been inactive for a while. Gradually increase the time you exercise and how hard you exercise.

Start with 3 times a week and work up to 5 times a week.

Drink plenty of water before during and after exercising. Dehydration can affet your blood sugar levels, so stay hydrated!

Always carry diabetic identification with you while exercising

Choosing low-impact exercising is kinder to your bones and will lower your risk of injury. Good low-impact exercising: walking & swimming

Yoga and Pilates are great strengthening and flexibility activities

Avoid doing exercises that are high in intensity or involve lifting weights.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Insulin Resistance and Diabetes.
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