Being active is a key part of managing diabetes. It helps to lower blood sugar levels and has many other health benefits. Physical activity helps to clear sugar out of the blood and makes muscles more sensitive to insulin. So you may need to either use less insulin or eat more on days you are more active. However, you should talk to your diabetes care team before you adjust your insulin dose.
Being active is 1 of the 4 cornerstones of diabetes care you’ll learn about on Cornerstones4Care® for type 1 diabetes. In case you need a reminder, the others are healthy eating, taking diabetes medicine(s), and tracking blood sugar.
Did you know that there is actually a difference between “physical activity” and “exercise”?
Physical activity is basically any activity that gets you moving and helps to burn calories. It doesn’t need to be formal or planned. It can be walking around the neighborhood, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or even doing some gardening or work around the house.
Exercise is usually how you would describe a planned physical activity, such as swimming, biking, or running.
Both physical activity and exercise can help you get into better shape and improve your health.
What can physical activity and exercise do?
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says it can help to:
- Improve blood flow, muscle tone, and flexibility
- Prevent heart disease and other health problems
- Lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol
- Lower mild-to-moderate high blood pressure
- Improve how you look and feel
- Reduce stress
- Improve the quality of sleep
Being active matters
Being active on a regular basis is a good idea for almost everyone, but it has added benefits for people living with diabetes. As a part of an overall diabetes care plan, regular activity can help you manage your diabetes and improve your general health.
Talk with your health care provider about what activities are safe and right for you.