Regular exercise is good for everyone: It keeps the heart healthy and joints and muscles strong, and it helps to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol. For people with diabetes, exercise has the added benefits of lowering blood glucose levels and level of insulin resistance, the condition in which muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin.
If you’ve never been active or haven’t been in many years, starting an exercise program may seem intimidating. You may be worried about injuries or wonder how you will fit exercise into your daily routine. But almost anyone can get moving safely and find time to squeeze in some activity.
Because conditions such as high blood pressure and certain diabetes complications can make some activities less safe, people with diabetes are advised to see their doctor for a checkup before starting a formal exercise program or increasing their level of physical exertion. Once you’ve gotten the go-ahead from your doctor, this list of resources, including books, Web sites, and government agencies, can help you take the next step. They provide a variety of tools for getting started with exercise, including guidance on how to do so safely.
ACTION PLAN FOR DIABETES
Your Guide to Controlling Blood Sugar
Darryl E. Barnes, MD
Champaign, Illinois, 2004
This book presents a holistic approach to balancing the various components of a diabetes treatment plan: good nutrition, healthy lifestyle, regular physical activity, blood glucose monitoring, and medication. A long chapter on exercise reflects the author’s special interest in sports medicine and offers detailed information on incorporating more physical activity into your life. Numerous photographs are included to show the correct ways to stretch and perform resistance exercises.
DIABETIC ATHLETE’S HANDBOOK
Your Guide to Peak Performance
Sheri R. Colberg, PhD
Champaign, Illinois, 2009
Written primarily for athletes with diabetes — but with tips for beginning exercisers, as well — this book provides detailed information on maintaining blood glucose control while training. It has guidelines for specific types of activity, including endurance sports, “power” sports, fitness activities like aerobics and walking, and outdoor recreation. Also included are profiles and quotes from real people who have diabetes and are successfully staying fit.
SMALL STEPS, BIG REWARDS
Walking Your Way to Better Health
American Diabetes Association
Alexandria, Virginia, 2004
This book focuses on walking as a starting point for better physical health.
THE “I HATE TO EXERCISE” BOOK FOR PEOPLE WITH DIABETES
Charlotte Hayes, MMSc, MS, RD, CDE
American Diabetes Association
Alexandria, Virginia, 2006
Aimed at people who find exercise difficult or who don’t enjoy it, this book focuses on integrating exercise into everyday life by making activities you already participate in a part of your physical fitness routine.
THE AMERICAN PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSOCIATION BOOK OF BODY MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR
Marilyn Moffat, PT, PhD, FAPTA, and Steve Vickery
Round Stone Press, Inc., and American Physical Therapy Association
New York City, 1999
This book has three distinct parts: The first provides anatomical information and care tips for various parts of the body, such as the back, neck, shoulder, knee, etc. The second focuses on injury prevention and building endurance. And the third has illustrations and instructions for over 200 exercises, most of which can be done with no special equipment.