Your Exercise Rx
Exercise has great health benefits. You
probably know that exercise burns calories, which
helps lose weight. You may also know that
exercise improves your cholesterol
lowers your blood
pressure. Together, this
helps maintain the health of your heart and blood
Exercise also makes your muscle cells more sensitive
to insulin, meaning that sugar from your blood
is able to enter muscle cells. If you have
type 2 diabetes, this accomplishes two important
- Helps to control your blood sugar levels
- Provides energy your muscles need to work
throughout the day
If exercise if new for you or you've been
inactive for a while, check with you doctor to
be sure that it is safe for you to start. A
stress test, eye exam, and complete neurologic
exam may be performed to assess your risk for
complications related to diabetes. Once
you are given the go-ahead, follow these general
- Choose activities that you enjoy, so that
you will stick with them. Vary the activity
when it feels like time for something new.
- Include five minute warm-up and cool-down
- Start slowly and listen to your body.
- Be aware that exercise can cause your blood
sugar to plummet if you are taking certain
medications or insulin.
- Check your blood sugar before and after exercise
to learn how exercise affects your body.
- As a general rule, you should not exercise
if your blood sugar is over 300 or below 100mg/dl.
- Wear proper footwear.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Wear a visible I.D. bracelet or other diabetes
- Have sugar-containing foods readily available
during and after exercise in case your blood
- Avoid injecting insulin (if you use it) near
muscles that you use while working out.
- Avoid strength training and high-impact exercises
if you have a diabetic eye disorder called
- Exercise at the same time each day, preferably
after a meal or snack.
- Exercise at a time that is convenient to
What type of exercise should I do?
- Low-impact exercises such as swimming,
biking, walking, dancing or weight training
- Add "recreational" activities
throughout the day (shopping, yard work
often and how long?
- 150 minutes per week
- 30 minutes, five days per week
- 50 minutes, three days per week
intense should it be?
- "Fairly light" to "somewhat
- Approximately 70 percent of maximal
heart rate (if
- You should be able to talk (but not
sing) while exercising.