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    Learning About Your Health

    Diabetes: Being Active

    Why is Exercise so Important for People with Diabetes?

    Exercise can lower blood glucose levels. It also helps to control weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. In addition, exercise can reduce stress and depression, and help improve sleep. If you are in the hospital, you may not be able to exercise until after you recover. Being active is the cornerstone of diabetes management and overall health.

    Most of your body’s resistance to the available circulating insulin occurs at the muscular level. By working your muscles, you will reduce insulin resistance; this helps you use insulin more efficiently (whether it is your own insulin or insulin taken by injection). Keep in mind that every little bit helps. Walking 30 minutes a day, in addition to a healthy diet, has shown positive results in preventing and controlling diabetes.
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    Before You Start

    Check with your health care provider if you have any activity restrictions (for example, those with uncontrolled high blood pressure are cautioned not to lift weights). Choose an exercise routine you enjoy. Set realistic goals and make a plan. Start slowly, build up, and monitor how it affects your blood glucose. Make it a family or friend event and go together!
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    What are Safety Issues I Need to Know About?

    If you are taking certain diabetes medications, including insulin, you will need to carry a form of fast-acting sugar with you to prevent low blood glucose. Also, make sure you:

    • wear comfortable socks and shoes

    • stay hydrated

    • bring your cell phone if you have one

    • consider wearing a medical alert bracelet (call 1-888-633-4298 to request a catalogue)

    • have a snack available if you plan to exercise more than 30 minutes

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    Why is it Important to Maintain or Attain Optimal Weight?

    Reducing body fat improves blood glucose control. Weight control also decreases your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. If you are overweight, set a realistic weight loss goal (about 10 - 15 pounds to begin with, over the course of three months). Allow a reasonable time to reach your goal. Do not lose more than 2 pounds per week.


    Produced by the staff and physicians at California Pacific Medical Center in association with the Center for Patient and Community Education. Last updated: 12/11

    Funded by: A generous donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Ciocca Foundation.

    Note: This information is not meant to replace any information or personal medical advice which you get directly from your doctor(s). If you have any questions about this information, such as the risks or benefits of the treatment listed, please ask your doctor(s).

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