Did you know that if you exercise at least three times a week, you may extend your life? Exercise helps keep your blood glucose under control and decreases the chance of heart disease and stroke.
If you exercise at least three times a week, it may help your A1C level (an average measure of your blood glucose levels over the last 2-3 months) drop by about 2 A1C points. This is a big improvement!
Exercise at least three times a week may also help decrease your risk of heart disease. A recent study looked at how often people exercise and their chance of getting heart disease.
An Exercise and Heart Disease Study
The people in the study were split into groups. The first group exercised two times or less each week during the study. Other people exercised three times a week or more during the study. Some other people increased their exercise as the study went on so that they were exercising three times a week by the end of the study.
The study found that people who exercised twice a week or less had:
- Higher body mass index (BMI, a measure of your body fat).
- Higher levels of triglycerides (a type of fat) in their blood.
- Twice the risk of heart disease.
Exercise three times a week decreases the chance of heart disease. It:
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Helps to protect against heart and blood vessel disease by lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and increasing ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
- Improves blood circulation and reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke.
What does exercise have to do with type 2 diabetes?
Exercise three times a week may help type 2 diabetes. It can:
- Burn excess body fat (decreased body fat improves how the body uses insulin).
- Help to decrease and control weight.
- Decrease A1C.
- Decrease the chance of diabetes complications.
What can you do to get active?
Here are some tips to help you exercise more and safely!
- Start slowly and build up how often you exercise. Take a walk around the block a few times a week, or rake some leaves in the yard for one week. The next week, exercise twice. The third week, exercise three times.
- Try activities that are easy on your joints. Good examples are walking, riding a bike, swimming, or water-aerobics.
- Exercise with a family member or friend.
- Exercise for 30 minutes each time.
- Pick an exercise you enjoy! Walking, swimming, gardening, riding a bike!
- Speak to your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program. Check that the activities you’ve chosen are the best ones for you.
- Stretch for the first 5-10 minutes of your exercise time.
- The next 5-10 minutes of exercise should be walking or bike riding at a slow pace. Gradually increase how fast you walk, ride, or swim.
- Slow down your exercise for the last 5-10 minutes of your exercise to decrease how fast your heart beats.
- Take your glucose blood level before and after you exercise
Remember, exercise at least 3 times a week may help you live longer!