Diabetes Self-Management Articles

These articles cover a wide range of subjects, from the most basic aspects of diabetes care to the nitty-gritty specifics.

Links not loading properly?

Some of our pages use Portable Document Format (PDF) files, which require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download Acrobat Reader for free, visit www.adobe.com.

Sign up for our weekly e-mail newsletter and receive a FREE GIFT! Enter your e-mail below.

Learn more

Learn more about diabetes

Links to help you learn more about diabetes.

Ask a diabetes expert
Other diabetes resources
Browse article topics

 

Staying Active as a Family

by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Lindsay Hieronymus

It is no secret that exercise and physical activity can help keep the body in a healthier state. Regular physical activity can help improve the circulation of your blood, maintain muscle tone, and keep your joints flexible. Your heart, muscles, and bones benefit by being stronger and less likely to become diseased or injured. Studies show that regular physical activity can help you sleep better, improve your overall energy level, and provide some stress relief by boosting your feel-good endorphins and diverting attention away from daily worries.

When you have diabetes, regular physical activity can also help with blood glucose control, both by lowering your blood glucose level directly, and by lowering your level of insulin resistance (which contributes to high blood glucose levels). It also helps to lower your blood pressure, and it keeps your lipids (blood fat levels) in check by increasing your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and lowering your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides. All of these benefits together help to prevent the long-term complications of diabetes such as retinopathy (eye disease), nephropathy (kidney disease), and neuropathy (nerve damage).

In people who are at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes — a group that includes all blood relatives of people who have Type 2 diabetes — research has shown that performing regular physical activity can help prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

With all of these benefits for people with and without diabetes, doesn’t it make sense to make engaging in physical activity a family affair? As you consider how to get more active yourself, also think about how to include your family members in your efforts. What might help to motivate your spouse, children, or other family members to be more active? And what sort of preparation or equipment might they need to participate in the activities you enjoy?

Weight control
Experts agree that those who exercise and are physically active have an easier time of staying at a healthy body weight. While being active admittedly burns more calories than being sedentary, the real benefit in regular exercise is its role in maintaining weight loss achieved through dietary and other lifestyle measures.

For people who have diabetes and are overweight, a weight loss of 5% of body weight is associated with improvement in blood glucose control and blood pressure and lipid levels. For people with prediabetes, a 7% weight loss combined with regular physical activity has been shown to significantly reduce the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. (Prediabetes is diagnosed when blood tests show a blood glucose level that is higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.)

Physical activity and exercise are also associated with a decrease in visceral fat (fat that surrounds the inner organs in the abdominal region). This is important, because visceral fat is associated with insulin resistance and a higher risk of heart disease. Losing visceral fat is considered “heart healthy” whether or not you have diabetes.

Types of exercise
There are four types of activity that are commonly included in a complete exercise routine.

Physical activity. This is movement that is not formal exercise. Examples include walking, climbing stairs, and doing housework or yard work. In general, finding ways to move more and to sit less is good for your health.

Aerobic exercise. This type of exercise uses your large muscle groups and causes you to breathe faster and more deeply. Examples include brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, and swimming. The effect of aerobic exercise is to increase the amount of oxygen in your blood and to increase blood flow to your muscles and back to your lungs.

Page    1    2    Show All    

Also in this article:
How One Family Got Active
Take-Away Activity Tips

 

 

More articles on Exercise

 

 


Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

 

 

What's Your Diabetes "Type"? Gestational, MODY, and Steroid-Induced
It's somewhat staggering to consider that approximately 26 million people in the United States... Blog

Healthy Habits for Healthy Aging: More Steps You Can Take
Would you describe yourself as a "successful ager"? Most of us probably don't think of getting... Blog

Aging Well With Diabetes
Aging seems to be the only available way to live a long life. —Daniel Francois Esprit Auber America... Article

Roughly how many calories a day will nursing my baby require? Get tip


Carbohydrate Restriction: An Option for Diabetes Management
Some people find that decreasing the amount of carbohydrate they eat can help with blood glucose control. Here’s what to know about this approach.

Insulin Patch Pumps: A New Tool for Type 2
Patch pumps are simpler to operate than traditional insulin pumps and may be a good option for some people with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

How Much Do You Know About Vitamins?
Learn what these micronutrients can and can’t do for you.

Complete table of contents
Get a FREE ISSUE
Subscription questions