Exercising With Diabetes: How Much Is Enough?
Exercise is an effective way to improve the body's ability to use insulin and help control blood sugar levels—important goals for people with diabetes. But how much exercise does it take to achieve these benefits?
Starting a Program
Anyone who has diabetes should get the OK for a new exercise program from his or her diabetes care team. Topics to discuss include what activity level is appropriate and what (if any) special precautions to take, based on the type of diabetes, medications, current fitness state, complications, glucose levels and other factors.
Exercise Frequency & Timing
Researchers have discovered that when a muscle is exercised, it draws glucose out of the bloodstream for fuel, helping control levels of sugar in the blood. This effect continues not just during exercise, but for 24 to 72 hours afterward. For this reason, experts recommend people with diabetes exercise at least five days per week, if not every day. This ensures that the muscles draw sugar from the bloodstream continuously.
While science hasn't produced a definitive answer to how much time is enough for people with diabetes to exercise, here are some useful observations:
Many studies of diabetes and exercise have looked at the benefits of walking (or, in some cases, biking or jogging) for about 30 minutes per session. This amount has been found to be quite effective at helping to control blood sugar.
A group of Italian researchers followed a large number of people with diabetes for two years. The results of their study, published in Diabetes Care, found that people who got 38 minutes of exercis Continue reading