- Regular physical activity and exercise can help reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- Physical activity also has psychological benefits, such as reducing stress, anxiety, and depression and releasing endorphins that improve mood.
- Safe and appropriate sports activities like trampoline, jogging/walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga can help prevent or manage diabetes.
- Checking and adjusting insulin doses or eating a snack before/during physical activity can help manage blood sugar levels during sports activities.
- Setting achievable goals and finding support from the community is essential for staying motivated to stay consistent with physical activity.
Sports and diabetes can seem like two very different worlds. While sports are all about fitness, strength, and energy, diabetes is a medical condition characterized by high blood sugar levels. It’s estimated that about four million people have it in the U.K. But did you know that sports and physical activity can significantly impact managing diabetes? In fact, for people with diabetes, regular physical activity and sports are essential to staying healthy and managing the condition effectively.
Physical Activity and Blood Sugar Control
Physical activity, like sports, helps the body use insulin more effectively and lowers blood sugar levels. When you exercise, your muscles use glucose for energy, which means less glucose is circulating in the bloodstream.
This can help lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, making it easier for people with diabetes to manage their condition. For those with type 2 diabetes, regular physical activity can even help reverse the condition or prevent it from developing in the first place.
The Psychological Benefits of Sports for People with Diabetes
Sports and physical activity can have significant psychological benefits for people with diabetes. Regular exercise can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, common in people with diabetes. Exercise also releases endorphins, improving mood and creating a sense of well-being. Additionally, sports and physical activity can help people with diabetes feel more in control of their condition and more confident managing it effectively.
Choosing the Right Sports and Activities
Not all sports and activities are created equal regarding diabetes management. People with diabetes must choose safe and appropriate activities for their condition. Here are some great sports you should try out to reduce your chances of diabetes:
Most people tend to forget that using the trampoline is considered a sport. It burns tons of calories, especially for those who are obese and overweight. An adult activity trampoline can easily burn around 500 calories per hour. It can also help improve balance and coordination as well as increase flexibility.
Jogging and Walking
These two are the most popular exercises which can benefit people with diabetes greatly. Jogging or walking can help regulate blood sugar levels, reduce stress, and improve overall physical health. These activities are also low impact, making them suitable for almost any age group.
Swimming is an excellent low-impact sport that can significantly benefit individuals with diabetes. It is an ideal exercise for people with joint or mobility issues, as it places minimal strain on the joints. Moreover, swimming is a great way to lower blood sugar levels, as it increases insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to regulate glucose levels better.
Cycling is another great sport that can help prevent diabetes. It is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular fitness, essential for maintaining good health. Cycling is also low-impact, making it ideal for those prone to joint problems. Moreover, cycling is a great way to burn calories, which can help manage weight and blood sugar levels.
Yoga is an excellent physical activity that offers numerous benefits for preventing diabetes. Practicing yoga regularly can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both risk factors for diabetes. Additionally, yoga helps reduce stress levels, which can negatively impact blood sugar levels.
Managing Blood Sugar Levels During Sports
Sports can sometimes cause blood sugar levels to drop too low, especially if you are taking insulin or other diabetes medications. To prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) during sports, you must check your blood sugar levels before, during, and after physical activity.
You may need to adjust your insulin dose or eat a snack before or during sports to keep your blood sugar levels steady. It’s also important to stay hydrated and to wear a medical bracelet or ID that indicates that you have diabetes.
Staying Motivated and Consistent
Staying motivated and consistent with sports and physical activity can be challenging, especially when living with diabetes. However, staying motivated and consistent is crucial for managing diabetes effectively. One way to stay motivated is to set achievable goals, whether running a 5K, cycling a certain distance, or practicing yoga daily. Another way to stay consistent is to find a supportive community of people with diabetes who share your interests and can encourage and motivate you to stay active.
Diabetes is complex, but you can manage it effectively with the right physical activity and sports. Regular physical activity does not only help reduce blood sugar levels, but it also has psychological benefits for people living with diabetes. With a supportive community and achievable goals, you can stay motivated and consistent to achieve better health.