Exercise: it’s an important part of being healthy, particularly as the American culture becomes increasingly sedentary. Your body needs to move and be active. This is even more important if you have diabetes. This is a disease that affects your circulation, organs, nerves, and feet. Controlling it is absolutely necessary to continue doing the things you love—and various exercises can play an important role in keeping your whole body, particularly your feet, functioning well with the disease.
Why Exercise Matters
Regular activity does a lot for your body. It helps maintain a healthy weight, lowers your blood sugar levels, builds muscle strength, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, and even decreases stress. All of this improves the symptoms of diabetes and decreases your risk for foot complications later. You don’t have to invest in fancy gym equipment or spend multiple hours a day working out to see the benefits for your condition, either. Even moderate activity that boosts your heart rate done on a regular basis helps your body.
What You Should Be Doing
There are three main types of exercises that are good for your feet and your body as a whole: aerobic, strength, and flexibility. These target different aspects of your physical fitness, improving your circulation and breathing, building muscle, and maintaining your range of motion.
Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate. This pumps your blood faster, ensuring that it moves powerfully through your blood vessels and brings much-needed oxygen and nutrients to your extremities, particularly the feet. This helps lower your blood sugar levels, pressure, and cholesterol. These activities include water aerobics, brisk walks, dancing, swimming, and bicycling. An ideal amount of aerobic exercise would be about 30 minutes of moderate to intense activity roughly five times a week.
Strength training builds your muscles and bone density. This makes your body more stable and able to handle everyday chores and challenges. For your feet, this also makes you less susceptible to falls and other injuries. Weight lifting is one of the best activities to build strength, but using resistance bands can work as well if you don’t have access to weights.
Stretching out your muscles for improved flexibility is an important part of exercising with this disease, too. Keeping your muscles from stiffening up and maintaining your joints’ range of motion is just as important as strengthening your tissues and improving your circulation. Gentle stretching every day, even for only 5 to 10 minutes, can make a huge difference for your lower limbs.
Taking Care of Your Diabetic Feet
Because this disease does make your feet more vulnerable, you do have to be careful with exercise, particularly if you have any complications from the disease like neuropathy. Hard impacts, the wrong footwear, or exercising on an injury can lead to more serious problems like foot ulcers. Make sure you stick to activities that are safe for your lower limbs and start any routines slowly.
This means working your way up to more strenuous activities over an extended period of time. If you’ve been inactive and need to get started, begin with easy to moderate low-impact workouts. Walking, stair climbing, and other easy activities work well. Warm up carefully and cool down after you’re done. Wear appropriately supportive footwear and drink plenty of water as well. As these actions get easier, you can slowly increase your intensity and the time you spend being active.
Exercises and diabetes belong together. You can greatly improve your life with the disease if you maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay active. If you need help getting started with a foot-safe exercise program, let our staff at Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas know. We’ll help you find the best way to work out and enjoy yourself safely. To make an appointment, call (702) 839-2010 or send us an online request.