Type 2 diabetes: Six exercises that can help lower your blood sugar

Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that can trigger symptoms such as excessive thirst, needing to pee a lot and tiredness. Left untreated, it can lead to long-term complications such as kidney disease, nerve damage and eye problems. Alongside a healthy diet, keeping active can hep manage blood sugar levels. But what types of exercise are most effective?

Alongside a healthy diet, keeping active can hep manage type 2 diabetes

Regular exercise is stated by the government as 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity a week.

Diabetes.co.uk explained: “Aerobic activity at moderate intensity basically means exercising at a level that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. This includes a multitude of sports.”

The six examples it gives are:

  • Fast past walking
  • Light jogging
  • Bike riding
  • Rowing
  • Playing doubles tennis or badminton
  • Water aerobics

But the diabetes expert adds: “Cutting the grass, cleaning your home and other daily chores such as shopping don’t count towards your 150 minutes of weekly exercise as advances in technology have made these activities far less demanding on the body than for previous generations, who were active naturally more active through work and manual labour.

“However, the less time you spend sitting down, the better it will be for your health.

“Sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, increases your risk of weight gain and obesity, which in turn, may also up your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.”

Alternatively, the 150 minutes exercise a week can also be broken down into 15 minutes of vigorous activity five days a week, says Diabetes UK.

It says: “Vigorous activity means your breathing is fast and you have difficulty talking.

“It’s things like running, cycling fast or up hills or fast swimming.”

A study by Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark found HIIT can play a part in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by keeping blood glucose levels within a healthy range. 

HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training, is a form of interval training which alternatives short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods.

Trainer Zana Morris revealed the other benefits of doing HIIT.

She told Waitrose & Partners magazine: “The short bursts of exercise of High Intensity Training make it easy to fit a workout into a busy week, but its benefits don’t stop there.

“It’s also one of the fastest ways to increase strength and stamina while building lean body mass and burning fat.

“In fact, a study by researchers at McMaster University in Canada found that three 20-minute sessions of intense interval training per week (working at 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate) can provide the same benefits as ten hours of steady exercise over a two-week period.

“High-intensity workouts cause massive disturbances in your muscle fibres, and this increases your metabolic rate for anything from two to 24 hours after you work out.

“This means your body continues burning a bit more fat even when you rest.”

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