5 Essential Exercise Tips for Type 2 Diabetics

5 Essential Exercise Tips for Type 2 Diabetics

People often believe that the only way to control the symptoms of type 2 diabetes is by controlling diet. In reality, those with diabetes can also take control of their health by focusing on exercise. Because muscles burn glucose when they work, exercise can naturally reduce the level of glucose in your blood, and it can help your cells use glucose more effectively.

If you're newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, or you want to boost your fitness IQ so you can help get your health symptoms in check, check out the list below. These essential exercise tips can result in a myriad of health benefits, including better blood sugar control, weight loss and more.

1. Incorporate strength training

It's long been believed that the best way to burn fat from your body is by doing cardio exercise, which greatly boosts your heart rate. While cardio is important for type 2 diabetics, it is also essential for them to incorporate strength training into their exercise routine. The American Diabetes Association explains that strength training makes your body more sensitive to insulin and lowers blood glucose, in addition to having other health benefits, like boosting bone and muscle strength, upping overall calorie burn and preventing muscle loss over time.

2. Use a fitness tracker

Today, lots of companies have developed wearable fitness trackers, which you can wear on your wrist (or around your neck, in your pocket, etc.) to track the amount of movement you're doing. Fitness trackers can track things like the amount of steps you take, how long you stand for and your heart rate, and they are a great way to ensure you're getting enough movement in general throughout your day. Fitness trackers are an effective way to ensure you're not living a life that is too sedentary and to make sure you are meeting your exercise goals regularly. If not, your tracker can send you a reminder via a vibration or an alert on your phone, and you can tweak your routines to make sure you're being as healthy as possible.

3. Get outside

A lot of people choose to work out at home or in a gym. But, if you want to maximize the effect of your workouts, try doing them outside. Experts believe that people who work out outside work out longer (and often harder) since the surrounding environment distracts them from the pain or effort of their workout. Exercising outside has also been shown to boost happiness--and save you gym fees!

4. Call a friend

If you're having trouble getting motivated to work out, or you feel intimidated by other gym-goers or park-joggers, find a friend who will exercise with you. Studies have shown that people who exercise with a friend end up losing more weight. Having a workout buddy means that you have someone to hold you accountable when you don't feel like getting off of the couch—and it also gives you someone to push yourself to compete against in terms of results.

5. Don't forget to stretch

When you're done working out, it's crucial to stretch out the muscles you've used. Stretching will help you increase your flexibility, and it will also lessen the soreness you may feel the next day. When you stretch, you also decrease the possibility of pulling or injuring a muscle, which could derail your entire workout routine.

If you have type 2 diabetes, and you are looking to improve your symptoms, consider starting a fitness routine. You can start small by going for a walk, or swimming a few laps in a nearby pool. By spending time moving around in the outdoors, you may just find that you feel much better physically — and you'll probably feel happier, too!