Manage Diabetes with Exercise

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Filed Under: Diabetes, Blood Sugar
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Believe it or not, one-third of Americans are obese, and obesity, particularly in the abdominal area, is a well-established diabetes risk factor.  

When you exercise, your muscles’ energy requirements increase dramatically—they need ready access to glucose, which fuels the hungry muscle cells. Exercise appears to some degree to actually bypass the normal requirements for insulin. It increases the transport of glucose into the cells, not only while you are exercising but for hours afterwards. Thus, it lowers blood glucose levels and also improves overall insulin sensitivity.  So, if you’re living with diabetes, exercise can be your key to controlling blood sugar.

Researchers at Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley who followed almost 6,000 men for 14 years determined that increased physical activity was especially protective for men with the highest risk of developing diabetes—those who were overweight or had a family history of diabetes.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise four or more days per week. You don’t have to run marathons—just get active. Brisk walking is one of the easiest activities for beginners, but the most important thing is to choose something you enjoy and stick with it.

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