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What Exercises are Best?


All types of exercise are important, including: cardiorespiratory (cardio), strength, flexibility and neuromotor (balance and agility) exercises. Cardio and strength training activities are the most beneficial for managing diabetes. Cardio exercises reduce the risk of heart disease by affecting positive changes in cholesterol, blood pressure, circulation and blood glucose. It improves the body’s ability to use insulin more efficiently. Strength training also improves insulin sensitivity and can lower blood glucose. Additionally, it builds strong muscles and bones, which reduces your risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

A good goal for cardiovascular exercise is to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise for at least five days each week, for a total of at least 150 minutes each week. If 30 minutes at one time is too much, it is okay to break it up into several sessions throughout the day. Eventually, you will gain more endurance and be able to increase the time of your sessions. If weight loss is a goal, you will want to build up to about 60 minutes per day. Intensity can be easily determined by thinking of intensity on a 10-point scale, with “0” being at rest and “10” being hardest. Moderate intensity would be a “5” or “6.” You will notice your breathing has increased along with your heart rate, but you can still talk.


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