Exercising Without Injury
“Exercise is the best medicine,” says Jacqueline Shahar, MEd, RCEP, CDE, a certified diabetes educator and manager of exercise physiology in the Joslin Clinic. “It is like a pill that helps your diabetes.”
Who Should Exercise
Some people with diabetes who have arthritis or other medical complications might worry at first that exercise will make their problems worse. But no matter your size or shape, whether you’ve never exercised or are already active, everyone can benefit from an exercise plan.
- Increased muscle strength, endurance and tone
- Increased bone mass
- Improved blood glucose control
- Daily activities get easier
- Improved quality of life and mental outlook
‘When you start exercising, your muscles wake up,” explains Shahar. “Train the muscles and they start burning more calories from glucose and stored fat.”
Something for Everyone with Diabetes
Those who are sedentary can start doing strengthening exercises on a chair using water bottles then progress to free weights and resistance bands. There are also exercise machines you usewhile seated. Walking in a pool is a low-impact alternative to walking outside. These options reduce stress on your knees and back and allow you to exercise without injury.
Those already active can add interval and circuit training to improve stamina, strength, diabetes control, and to promote weight loss.
What starts as hard work can become enjoyable. You may even find you can cut back on insulin or oral medications. “I’ve seen this happen many times in the Why WAIT? Program,” says Shahar. "Exercise soon becomes your new lifestyle—an active lifestyle."
Page last updated: March 20, 2019