The challenge of managing blood sugar levels is a daily reality for millions. When you’re living with type 2 diabetes, navigating the fluctuations of blood glucose levels can often feel like a balancing act.
We know that food (namely a low carb diet) plays a key role in keeping blood glucose levels within target ranges, alongside getting adequate sleep and managing stress levels. But there’s another important factor that often gets overlooked: exercise.
So, why is exercise such a game-changer for those with type 2 diabetes?
Understanding the link between exercise and blood glucose regulation
Here’s a fun fact: Your body loves it when you exercise!
Ever wonder why you feel so good after a workout? Every time you engage in physical activity, your body celebrates by releasing a flood of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. These endorphins act as mood enhancers and stress relievers, encouraging you to push on and enjoy the workout (like a team of built-in cheerleaders)!
Your muscles, in particular, will prioritise burning glucose if it’s in the bloodstream. So, the more you move, the more glucose your muscles consume, leading to lower glucose levels in your bloodstream, effectively helping you keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range. If you’re eating low carb, your body will instead burn fat – either your body fat or the fat you eat – for fuel, and your muscles don’t need glucose.
Regular exercise and increasing the amount of muscle in your body also boost your body’s insulin sensitivity. In simple terms, it means your cells become more efficient at using the insulin available to them to absorb and use glucose; this is key for those with type 2 diabetes, as it helps ensure the glucose in your bloodstream is used appropriately by your body rather than lingering and causing your blood sugar to rise.
Remember the magic happening inside your body when you get moving. It doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym. Even as little as two minutes of walking a few times a day can improve blood sugar compared to not moving much. Start small and know that your muscles are not just getting stronger; they’re also helping regulate your blood glucose levels.
3 reasons why exercise is a game-changer for those with type 2 diabetes
- Improved blood glucose management: Regular exercise is a powerful tool for type 2 diabetes management. Every movement contributes to better blood glucose regulation, whether a brisk walk or a full workout session.
- Enhanced insulin sensitivity: As you incorporate physical activity into your routine and build muscle mass, your body becomes more efficient at utilising insulin, helping to prevent rapid rises in blood glucose levels.
- Mood booster and stress reliever: When you work out, your body releases endorphins that make you feel good and reduce stress. Since stress can adversely affect blood glucose levels, exercise can help reduce stress and regulate blood glucose (we love a good two-for-one bonus)!
As you can see, incorporating regular exercise into your routine is a game-changer for individuals with type 2 diabetes. The connection between physical activity, blood glucose management and insulin sensitivity creates a positive cycle that promotes overall health.
Remember, it’s not about hitting the gym for hours; even short, consistent bouts of movement can make a significant difference. So, lace up those sneakers and get moving!