Type 2 diabetes: Regular exercise has a positive effect on blood sugar levels, study shows – Health shots

With more than 37 million Americans affected by diabetes, primarily type 2 diabetes, exercise is emerging as a powerful tool for managing blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity in addition to a healthy diet. This comprehensive study underscores the importance of exercise as a first-line therapy for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Let’s see what this study was about and what parameters were considered to prove that regular exercise can help control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine Open sheds light on the extensive benefits of exercise for controlling blood glucose levels. By examining various parameters, such as aerobic versus strength training, timing and the need for weight loss, researchers have provided valuable insights for healthcare professionals and individuals alike.

Exercise for blood sugar control
Exercise regularly to control your blood sugar! Image credit: Adobe Stock

Understanding the benefits of exercise for diabetics

Exercise plays a critical role in blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. The study highlights the importance of two major forms of exercise: aerobic exercise and resistance exercise.

1. Aerobic Workout: Activities such as cycling, swimming, and walking that elevate heart rate and increase the body’s use of oxygen help manage blood glucose levels effectively.

2. Resistance Exercise: Training muscles against resistance, such as using dumbbells, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises, improves insulin sensitivity, an essential factor in managing type 2 diabetes.

resistance bands
Exercising with resistance bands will be beneficial for diabetics! Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Also Read: Manage Diabetes With These 5 Simple Exercises

Other factors that can help control blood sugar

1. Movement during the day

Aside from dedicated exercise sessions, incorporating exercise throughout the day by breaking up sedentary time offers additional benefits for blood glucose and insulin control. Small changes, such as taking short walks or stretching regularly, can have a positive effect.

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2. Optimal timing of training

The timing of exercise also affects blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The study suggests that exercising later in the day produces better blood sugar control and improved insulin sensitivity.

3. Exercise before or after meals

The study examines whether exercise before or after meals is more effective for blood glucose control. “While both approaches have benefits, exercising after a meal may provide a small benefit,” said Steven Malin, an associate professor at the Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences and author of this study. However, the main message is that any exercise, regardless of the timing, has valuable benefits.

exercise after meals
Exercising after meals is more beneficial. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Weight Loss vs Exercise Benefits

Contrary to popular belief, losing weight is not a prerequisite to reaping the benefits of exercise in controlling blood sugar. Exercise itself contributes to reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass, resulting in improved insulin sensitivity.

Malin puts it aptly: “Exercise can be considered a medicine”. Therefore, incorporating regular exercise into the daily routine can significantly contribute to better blood sugar control, overall health and improved quality of life for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Remember, before beginning any exercise regimen, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate and safe exercise plan tailored to individual needs and health concerns.

(With input from ANI agencies)

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