How Does Exercise Help Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body is unable to respond properly to insulin, causing a rise of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. So does exercise lower blood sugar? When combined with proper nutrition, along with diabetes medications, Diabetics can really help control and possibly recover from the disease. Read on to see how does exercise help diabetes?

Encouraging your elderly loved one to stay fit and active enables them to control this disease. Specifically exercise helps diabetes by reducing sugar level spikes. Lack of exercise heightens the risk of developing long-term complications, such as kidney disease and nerve pain.

Exercise is proven to be very beneficial to everyone – not just diabetics. Diabetics have too much sugar in their blood because:

  1. Their body does not properly use insulin, or
  2. It doesn’t produce enough insulin to process.

How does exercise help diabetes? By burning some of the glucose found in the blood.

A couple running and finding out how does exercise help diabetes

How Does Exercise Help Diabetes?

When it comes to exercising, it won’t matter whether you’re diabetic or not (if you don’t have enough insulin or are insulin resistant). Your muscles can use glucose even without insulin. Therefore your muscles still are able to burn glucose and help the insulin out while you exercise. The more you exercise the better this process will be. For insulin resistant diabetics, physical activity makes insulin effective. Exercise helps diabetes by reducing the insulin resistance. The cells are able to use to glucose more efficiently. That shows that exercise does help lower blood sugar.

Exercise also hampers the development of long-term complications. Type 2 diabetics are especially prone to heart problems due to blocked arteries (arteriosclerosis). Exercising promotes a healthy and strong heart and keeps your cholesterol levels under control.

Other than that, exercise gives you and your loved one numerous health benefits, such as:

  • Better sleep
  • Improved mood
  • Keeps you energized
  • Strong muscles
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better stress management
  • Promotes good cholesterol
  • Weight management

Disclaimer: Before You Begin

Generally, people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight so exercising can be a little intimidating. When people hear an affirmative answer to the question of  ‘does exercise lower blood sugar?’, they may be overzealous about starting and hurt themselves. For health reasons, however, you or your loved one need to start an achievable exercise routine. Before your loved one begins exercising, he/she should talk to their doctor first.

Doctors take into consideration your heart health – if there are any blocked arteries or high blood pressure, medications you are taking, as well as any diabetes-related complications. Your doctor may also refer you to a professional to figure out the best type of exercise.

Prior to exercising, remember that it’s important to set realistic goals. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, then you might want to cut yourself some slack. Start slow and gradually increase the intensity as you go. Remember to drink water and stay hydrated throughout workouts. Also, keep a snack handy to treat low blood glucose.

Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar? Here are the Best Ones that Do

Any amount of exercise helps diabetes

Different types of exercise helps Diabetes. Both aerobic and resistance exercises are important. Aerobic exercises can be done by bicycling, jogging, walking, and the like. It is a continuous exercise that elevates breathing and heart rate as you perform. On the other hand, resistance exercises are short, repetitive exercises that strengthen the muscles. It usually uses resistance bands, weight machines, weights, or your body weight.

Here is a video from CNN on how exercise helps Diabetes:

How Much Exercise Do You Need?

Besides asking how does exercise help diabetes, you should also ask how much exercise will help. Generally, each individual must be able to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous aerobic exercises per week, breaking it down into a 30-minute to an hour of exercise, four to five times. However, it’s okay to start slowly and gradually. Don’t beat yourself up if you start with as little as five to 10 minutes per day. Keep in mind that 10 minutes of exercise sessions is similar to a single longer session of the same intensity.

When you get a hang on exercising and if it’s possible, gradually add resistance exercises, such as lifting weight or using resistance bands, at least three times each week.

The relationship between exercise and diabetes is complex. If you need help or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or someone in your diabetes healthcare team. You can also contact A Paradise for Parents at (623) 295-9890 or email us at We have a personal trainer to help you with your concerns.

Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar? Only if You Eat Right

How does exercise help diabetes? Only if you eat well too
Nutrition combined with exercise helps Diabetics

The number one concern of most people is that having diabetes restricts them from eating the foods they enjoy. The good news is that diabetics can still eat their favorite dishes. However, it must be consumed less often or in smaller portions. There are a lot of foods that are created specifically for diabetics so they won’t have to miss out, such as no-sugar baked goods and more. Connect with your elderly loved one’s healthcare team to create a meal plan for them. We also have a nutritionist who caters meals to our homes that helps with all sorts of conditions.

When people ask how does exercise help diabetes they should also ask how does nutrition help diabetes.

A diabetes meal plan is all about eating a variety of healthy food from all food groups. You may notice this once you have asked a healthcare professional to create a meal plan for you.

Recommended Foods for Diabetes

The food groups consist of:

  • Fruits
  • Starchy (corn, green peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc.) and non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, leafy greens, peppers, carrots, tomatoes, etc.)
  • Whole grains (oats, wheat, barley, cornmeal, quinoa, brown rice, black rice, and more)
  • Protein (lean meat, chicken or turkey without skin, eggs, fish, nuts and peanuts, meat substitutes, dried beans, chickpeas, split peas)
  • Nonfat or low-fat dairy (milk or lactose-free milk, cheese, yogurt)

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) lets you learn more about different food groups

You can also eat foods that are healthy for the heart, such as:

  • Liquid oils at room temperature (canola oil or olive oil). Use this when cooking food rather than cream, butter, lard, margarine, or shortening.
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Heart-healthy fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel)

Here are some of the foods diabetics should limit or avoid:

  • High-sodium food or high in salt
  • Sweets – baked goods, ice cream, candies, and more
  • Fried food or food high in trans-fat and saturated fat
  • Sugary drinks – juice, regular sports drink or energy drink, regular soda

Make it a point to drink water instead of sweetened drinks with added sugar. As you gradually lay off sugar, opt for a sugar substitute for your coffee or tea.

Our Program of Exercise Helps Diabetics

At a Paradise for Parents, we know that it is very important to stay physically fit and healthy especially in our golden years. We encourage our senior residents to get fit and active by having a personal trainer who works closely with residents in all of our assisted living homes in order to ensure that their physical capabilities are accommodated.

If you want to know more about assisted living facilities, A Paradise for Parents staff and our resources can answer all your questions. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (623) 295-9890 or email us at to know more about the services we offer. You can also fill out an online form located on our homepage. We’d be happy to assist you in your search for an assisted living facility for your loved one.

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From Pilot to Paradise: Meet Hal Cranmer!

From Pilot to Paradise: Meet Hal Cranmer!

Mr. Cranmer went from Air Force Special Operations Pilot to Airline Pilot to running a multimillion dollar manufacturing plant after 9/11 ended his flying career. Now he is bringing his business expertise to his true passion - taking care of seniors in his 'A Paradise for Parents' assisted living homes in Surprise and Goodyear, AZ. Read Hal's crazy career story, 'From Air Force Pilot to Assisted Living Owner'. Click the button to send Hal a message!

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