7 Reasons Diabetics Should Avoid Exercise
(Note: That’s a sarcastic article) What’s the big deal with exercise? Sure, it’s great if you’re a fitness nut and you have all the time in the world to do it. But you don’t fall into that category.
You’re a diabetic, which means that the main thing you need to exercise is caution in pretty much everything you do. You’re having a hard enough time trying to keep your blood sugar in check without having to worry about exercising.
And besides, exercise can be painful, especially if you’re already experiencing the effects of diabetic neuropathy. And if you’re looking for even more justification not to exercise, you’re in luck. Here’s a list of the 7 best reasons diabetics should avoid exercise at all costs.
- Exercise may cut down your need for medication: Every time you give yourself that insulin shot or take that diabetic pill, you feel good, right? That’s because you know you’re being proactive in fighting your disease. Why let exercise rob you of that feeling? After all, proper exercise boosts your body’s ability to use insulin and helps your body handle blood sugar more efficiently, long after you exercise. On top of that, exercise helps promote the building of lean muscle mass. Since muscles burn more glucose than any other tissues in your body you might be forced to manage your diabetes with less shots and less pills, or possibly get off of your diabetic meds altogether. Then what will you do to prove to yourself and others that you’re dealing with your disease?
- Exercise can combat depression: Diabetics are prone to depression, and can you blame them? You’ve got a life-altering disease which gives you every right to feel down, so why mess things up by exercising? Besides, isn’t that what pills are for? You could go that route but as it turns out, regular exercise causes the release of bio-chemicals in the brain that could help boost your mood and feeling of general well-being. On top of that, those who exercise have enhanced energy and tend to have a more positive attitude about life and their ability to handle whatever challenges come their way—including dealing with a serious disease.
- Exercise can help lower your blood pressure: Again, aren’t there pills for that? Of course there are. But exercise has been shown to do an even better job than pills at lowering blood pressure, without all the side effects of medications. And with naturally lower blood pressure, you stand a greater chance of avoiding or at least delaying the onset of many of the dreaded complications that high blood pressure can bring over time.
- Exercise is great for your immune system: As a diabetic, you enjoy the challenge of a good viral or bacterial infection now and then. After all, being sick gives you an excuse to “chill” and makes it even more fun to keep that blood sugar in check. Well, don’t look now but exercise can boost your immune system, making it better able to ward off infectious diseases like influenzas and the common cold, as well as bacterial infections. Exercise has also been found to reduce stress, which can also take a toll on the immune system. And if you’re suffering from peripheral vascular disease, exercise can decrease your chances of contracting difficult to treat infections in the extremities, or at least improve circulation to make treatments more effective. Plus, studies have shown that moderate regular exercise (30 minutes of brisk walking 5 times a week) works very well for immune system support, meaning that you don’t have to be an “exercise nut” to reap the benefits.
- Exercise helps with weight control: Dealing with diabetes is challenging and trying to lose weight makes it really difficult. If that’s how you feel you’ll be glad to know that diabetics who maintain a healthy weight tend to have better glucose control, fewer complications and enjoy greater quality of life than those who are overweight. And here’s the thing. If you’re already trying to eat healthy, but still packing a few extra pounds, exercise can really make a difference, especially when it comes to lowering overall body fat. And once the weight starts to come off, regular exercise will help you to keep it off. You’ll start to feel better about yourself, and that added confidence can be a real motivator to becoming a leaner and longer lasting version of you.
- Exercise is heart healthy: Moderate aerobic exercise can raise your heart rate. And that can’t be good, right? Exercise has also been shown to raise the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering the levels of the bad (LDL). And with a stronger heart and a better ratio of good vs. bad cholesterol you stand a much better chance of avoiding cardiovascular complications than non-exercising diabetics. And while we’re on the subject of complications…
- Exercise lowers your risk of developing diabetic complications: Maybe you like things complicated. A diabetes diagnosis can certainly complicate your life in a hurry. But if you want to reduce the risk of developing the kinds of complications that come with diabetes, you need to exercise. From heart disease to kidney failure to stroke, along with many other known complications, regular exercise can be of real benefit in allowing you to live a full and productive life—a life where you control your diabetes instead of allowing it to control you.
Note: Make sure you talk with your physician before beginning any exercise program.