5 Easy Exercises to Help You Manage Diabetes Mellitus
5 Easy Exercises to Help You Manage Diabetes Mellitus

By Kevin Shelley

Diabetes is an alarmingly common diagnosis. The statistics are staggering: More than one in four U.S. adults over the age of 65 suffer from it. Even more concerning is that one in five people living with diabetes don’t even know they have it.

Diabetes is caused by issues with insulin production and utilization. Insulin helps your body utilize glucose for energy. Problems with insulin production or utilization can result in elevated glucose levels in your blood. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a decreased production of insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, your body produces plenty of insulin but cannot effectively use it.

Lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, diet, and stress, can influence the development and prognosis of Type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise can prevent, delay, and even reverse it.

Exercise can also offer significant health benefits to those with Type 1 diabetes, such as improved cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and insulin sensitivity.

5 Easy Exercises to Help Manage Diabetes Mellitus

The management of blood sugar presents unique challenges that vary based on diabetes type, activity type, and any diabetes-related complications. The following exercises have a proven positive effect on diabetes. They can help maximize the effectiveness of your diabetes treatment regimen’s effectiveness and increase your overall fitness.

Start slowly if you’re not active or have been sedentary. These are exercises that most people with diabetes can do, but I recommend talking to your health care provider if you have a foot injury, ulcer, or other diabetic complications.

1. Brisk Walking

One of the most effective daily exercises for diabetes is walking, especially if you can manage a brisk pace. Simply start by doing what you can and increase your distance and pace as you progress.

Step 1: Walk at your normal pace for five minutes. This allows your body’s muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments to warm up. Listen to your body and take longer to warm up if needed.

Step 2: Accelerate to a brisk walk and maintain this pace for 10 minutes as long as you feel safe and in control.

Step 3: After 10 minutes, slow to your starting pace to allow your body to cool down.

For this exercise to be effective, it’s important to challenge yourself to walk briskly. Although brisk walking is effective on flat surfaces, you can get even more out of your workout by incorporating hills and inclines. Aim to walk for at least 30 to 45 minutes for optimal results.

2. Standing Marches

Standing marches are a simple yet highly effective exercise. The high steps contribute to core strengthening and postural stabilization, providing subtle movements throughout the spinal cord.

(Chung I Ho/The Epoch Times)

Step 1: Start in a standing position with your arms by your sides.

Step 2: March in place, lifting your knees as high as possible while involving your arms in the movement. Move slowly, taking 1 to 2 seconds to complete each step.

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Step 3: Modify the speed and sets as needed. March for two minutes per set, and aim for three sets.

Performing this exercise daily can help you manage diabetes while maintaining strength and endurance.

3. Chair Squats

Chair squats are a simple yet surprisingly effective exercise. Although challenging at first, they reward you with both strength and cardiovascular gains.

(Chung I Ho/The Epoch Times)

Step 1: Sit upright at the front of a chair.

Step 2: Stand up slowly, taking two to three seconds, with your arms extended straight out in front.

Step 3: Slowly return to a seated position without abruptly “plopping” down to avoid straining your spine.

Step 4: This counts as one repetition. Aim for three sets of 15 repetitions, making adjustments as needed.

4. Touch Floor/Touch Sky

This exercise involves a sequence of whole-body movements that may be challenging initially but become easier with practice. However, due to the frequent high and low head movements, it’s essential to be cautious of dizziness and rest as needed.

(Chung I Ho/The Epoch Times)

Step 1: Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart and arms at sides.

Step 2: Slowly lift your arms above your head. Simultaneously, push your hips forward and your shoulders back to ensure you’re as upright as possible, as if trying to touch the sky. Hold this position for three seconds.

Step 3: Slowly lower your arms while bending your hips until you touch the floor or reach down as far as possible. Don’t round your back while doing this exercise. If you feel pressure on your back or hamstrings, try slightly bending your knees for support. Hold this position for three seconds before slowly standing back up and reaching over your head again.

Step 4: This counts as one repetition. Aim for three sets of 15 repetitions and adjust as needed. Don’t be discouraged if you find these challenging at first.

5. Standing Back Kicks

Standing back kicks are a great way to strengthen the muscles on the back of your body, and they are an ideal follow-up to the previous exercise.

(Chung I Ho/The Epoch Times)

Step 1: Start by standing and holding onto a chair or countertop to maximize your safety and balance.

Step 2: Extend one leg straight back behind you with your knee locked, keeping your posture upright.

Step 3: After moving your leg as far back as possible, return it to the floor and repeat on the other side.

Step 4: This counts as one repetition. Aim for three sets of 30 repetitions and adjust as needed.

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