If you’ve got diabetes, you’re well aware of what you need to do to control your blood sugar. Or are you? Many people with diabetes focus on what they should and shouldn’t eat. That’s really important. However, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. To manage blood sugar, you’ve also got to take your medications faithfully. Physical activity is another key component.
Countless studies show that regular exercise helps control your blood sugar. It also keeps your blood pressure in check, lowers cholesterol, strengthens your lungs and heart, and helps you manage your weight. These are great reasons for everyone to exercise! But for people with diabetes, daily exercise will also greatly reduce your risk of future diabetic complications of the eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, and feet.
Here are five great exercise options for people with diabetes that promote good circulation and are easy on the feet:
- Walking requires no equipment other than a good pair of athletic shoes. Our board-certified podiatrist, Kenneth R. Wilhelm DPM, may recommend special footwear for diabetics, so contact our office before you begin your walking regimen.
- Swimming provides aerobic exercise without overly stressing your feet or your joints.
- Cycling is an excellent way to improve blood flow to legs and feet.
- Flexibility training. Stretching, yoga, and tai-chi help with balance and stress reduction. Stress hormones can elevate your blood sugar.
- Strength training – a.k.a weightlifting. Experts recommend lifting 2-3 days per week in addition to some aerobic exercise.
Prepare, and stick with it
Before you begin any exercise program, check with your doctor for tips on what’s safe and sustainable for you. Consult Dr. Wilhelm for more information on exercises that minimize the risk of foot injuries and infections. Call Clifton Foot & Ankle Center in Centreville (Fairfax County), Virginia, at (703) 996-3000. You may also make an appointment online. You’ll get lifelong health benefits when you make exercise a habit, so pick wisely and stick with it!