Getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet benefits everyone. However, exercise and diet play a crucial role in managing diabetes.
At MS Family Medicine Health Care PC in Rosedale and Garden City, New York, Michele Reed, DO, FAAFP, and our team of skilled providers take a proactive approach to health. We provide wellness and preventive care services that teach our patients the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
We serve as a resource and support system for all of our patients, especially those living with diabetes. In this blog, we explain the importance of exercise and diet when you have diabetes.
The basics of diabetes
Your body uses blood sugar — glucose — for energy, and this glucose comes from the foods you eat. When you eat, the glucose winds up in your blood. At this point, insulin — which is a hormone that’s produced by your pancreas — helps move the glucose from your blood into your body’s cells, where it’s used for energy.
Diabetes is a chronic health condition in which glucose builds up in the blood. This usually occurs for one of two reasons. If the body doesn’t produce insulin — as is the case with Type 1 diabetes — or if the body doesn’t properly use the insulin it does produce — which is the case with Type 2 diabetes — the glucose builds up in the blood.
If glucose is allowed to build up in the blood, this can lead to a host of health problems, such as heart disease, neuropathy (nerve damage), and kidney disease. The goal of diabetes treatment is to keep blood glucose levels within a normal range.
If you have diabetes, exercising and eating well can positively affect your blood glucose numbers and improve your overall health at the same time.
Exercise and diabetes
Moving your body is a good way to burn excess glucose as well as improve your heart and lung health, circulation, and blood pressure.
Ideally, you should get 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise — such as a brisk walk — five days a week. However, all movements count. If you’re unable to exercise for 30 minutes a day at the start, begin with an amount you can manage, such as 5-10 minutes a day, and slowly add more time as your fitness and energy improve. Or, break up your activity throughout the day. For example, you could take a 10-minute walk after breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If you need more guidance, we can talk with you about activities that can fit in with your health and fitness level.
Diet and diabetes
Food is your body’s source of glucose, so your diet is an important part of your diabetes management plan. Eating if your diabetic doesn't have to be complicated, and you don’t have to eat special “diet” foods. In fact, we recommend eating the same balanced diet that most people can benefit from.
Your meals should center around nutritious foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats. You should also have a routine when it comes to eating. This means you should eat around the same time every day and eat about the same amount of food at each meal and snack. Doing these things should help you manage your blood glucose levels.
If you have diabetes and want more guidance on how you should eat and exercise, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with MS Family Medicine Health Care PC today.