American Diabetes Month: Fitness Basics

Fitness Tips

American Diabetes Month: Fitness Basics

From the authors of Diabetes Forecast magazine

You know that moving your body more often boosts your health. But do you know why it’s especially good to exercise when you have diabetes or prediabetes? Fitness helps you fight the disease.

At Precor we believe that “tomorrow will be even better because of [our] actions today”, so we’ve partnered with the American Diabetes Association to bring you some advice for diabetes prevention and awareness throughout the month of November.

Glucose is the “fuel” that powers your body, but too much of it in your blood is harmful. Too much glucose in your blood indicates that you have diabetes or prediabetes. Prediabetes means your blood glucose levels are high, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Exercise can help. Moving your body burns excess glucose, bringing down high blood glucose levels. In addition, exercise makes your heart stronger, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, fights depression and mental decline, and more.

Here are the types of physical activity that everyone should do to stay healthy, even if they don’t have diabetes or prediabetes. The American Diabetes Association says to aim for at least:

2 to 3 sessions of strength (or resistance) training per week. Strength training exercises, such as lifting weights or using a resistance band, build up muscle. Muscles are one of the biggest users of glucose in the body after you eat, so building muscle mass will help lower your blood glucose. We all lose muscle mass as we age. Working muscles to stay strong as you get older helps you do everyday things such as cross a street quickly or take care of your home.

2 to 3 sessions of flexibility and balance exercises per week. Stretching improves flexibility and range of motion around your joints. Activities such as yoga and tai chi improve balance, which helps prevent falls.

150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. Aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling on flat ground, can reduce your risk of heart and blood vessel disease, or cardiovascular problems, which are common complications of diabetes. It can also lower blood glucose levels, strengthen bones, and reduce stress, among other good news. What’s moderate-intensity feel like? It should make your heart beat faster, quicken your breath, and make your body feel warmer. As you get more fit, you’ll need to up your pace or the challenge of the exercise to raise your heart beat.

No more than 30 minutes of sitting at a time. Sitting for long periods of time can raise your blood glucose, and it’s also linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other ailments. Every thirty minutes, take a quick break to stand up, stretch, or walk around.

You don’t have to reach the targets all at once. Start with shorter or lower-intensity exercises, and gradually increase the length of time and intensity of your workouts.

If you’re stuck about how to get more movement, a session with a certified fitness trainer can help you find physical activities that work for you. See some tips on finding a fitness trainer. Consider using a weight loss and fitness app for your smartphone or watch to log your progress.

Diabetes Forecast is the healthy living magazine published by the American Diabetes Association. To subscribe and for answers to your general questions and concerns about diabetes, call 800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit