extension mobilization stretch for the thoracic spine on an exercise ball

Healthy at Home: Maintaining a Balanced Lifestyle with Diabetes

Diabetes

Resistance tubing exercise. Permission: Joseph E. Muscolino.

Exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Resistance tubing exercise. Permission: Joseph E. Muscolino.

Diabetes is no longer a dreaded condition that confines people to a life of bland foods, self-injections and the constant monitoring of glucose and insulin levels. By observing some basic dietary rules, individuals with diabetes can lead perfectly happy and normal lives. In truth, a healthful diabetic diet is very much like the ideal low-fat, low-sugar regimen that everyone should follow. But, as doctors have advised us for generations, good health means more than a responsible diet – it has to include daily exercise. Diabetics can do much to improve their health by following a vigorous exercise regimen that includes a combination of weight training, cardio activity, and stretching and meditative exercises. And it can all be done from the comfort of home.

Eating for You

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For diabetics, diet and weight management go hand-in-hand. By paying close attention to dietary choices and portion size, you can maintain a healthy body weight while better managing glucose levels. Establishing a sensible diet is a matter of finding what works best for the individual. However, there are certain foods and food groups that should generally be included in every person’s diet. Lentils, kidney beans and low-salt baked beans; high-fiber carbohydrates including whole grain cereals; fruits and vegetables; and low-fat dairy products are excellent choices for a diabetic diet. Meats should be restricted to lean choices like fish, chicken and turkey. It’s best to avoid unhealthy unsaturated fats and opt for heart-healthy omega-3s instead. Sweets should be eaten in moderation.

Exercise in Place

physical activity

physical activity

Exercise is equally important, and should be part of a diabetic’s daily routine for at least 30 minutes a day (or 60 minutes for individuals who are trying to lose weight). Physicians have long promoted the benefits of running, walking and swimming. Recent research has shown that a program of weight training and strength conditioning can be equally beneficial. The American Diabetes Association recommends that everyone do some form of strength training at least twice a week. The consequent increase in lean muscle mass elevates your metabolic rate, which causes calories to be burned at a higher rate. Weight training can easily be done at home at minimal expense. You’ll see a decrease in fat-to-muscle ratio, and your insulin levels will drop. Strength training can also bolster your resistance to many of the typical complications of diabetes, such as high blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol levels, and reduced bone mass. For best results, couple your weight training with aerobic exercises.

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Pump You Up

Weights such as dumbbells and kettlebells are ideal for home use. Do 8 to 10 exercises per session, working all the major muscle groups in your upper and lower body. Hand weights and elastic bands can also be used. Remember to take a day off between sessions to let your muscles rest a bit. One of the keys to a successful weight program is to mix it up, so work in different exercises once in awhile to avoid getting bored.

Yoga and Pilates

A combined program of yoga and Pilates can help develop strength and flexibility and enhance core stability. Both disciplines focus your breathing, concentration, and self-control. Studies have shown that when performed regularly, Pilates can help control blood sugar levels, while yoga is well-known as an excellent way to lower blood pressure and help in managing weight gain.

Round-the-Clock Workouts

extension mobilization stretch for the thoracic spine on an exercise ball

Extension on a physioball. Permission Joseph E. Muscolino.

Joining a gym can help you achieve weight loss and keep your glucose and insulin levels under control. But the membership dues, wait times, and piles of sweaty towels aren’t for everyone. Investing in a home gym means you can exercise day or night according to your own schedule. It’s more hygienic, and there’s no waiting for machines or equipment. In addition to weights, you can focus on a broad range of exercises, from aerobics to Bosu exercises, which enhance core strength and flexibility.

The Healthy Diabetes Lifestyle is a Healthy Lifestyle for Everyone

In many ways, keeping your health on track as someone with diabetes is similar to staying fit as someone without the condition. By staying active and making healthy food choices, you’ll be able to continue living your best life.

This post was written by Dana Brown (HealthConditions.Info).

Did you know that Digital COMT, Dr. Joe Muscolino’s video streaming subscription service for manual and movement therapists, has an entire folder on CAM (Complementary Alternative Medicine).

(Click here for the blog post article: Battle Obesity: The War Against the #1 Killer in America.)

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