Exercise is an integral part of management of diabetes, especially type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Exercise may help to build ‘parallel’ blood vessels (collaterals) that the body produces naturally to enhance blood flow (to the capillaries). The heart especially, has the ability to generate such collaterals (also known as bypasses). However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before starting an exercise programme.
The benefits of exercise are multifaceted:
- It improves utilisation of glucose by the body cells and reduces blood sugar, thereby reducing the dosage of medication.
- It enhances circulation of blood to different parts of the body. It also increases collateral circulation in the heart, consequently reducing the episodes of heart attack markedly.
- Exercise induces a sense of well-being by enhancing formation of ‘feel-good’ hormones (endorphins & enkephalins).
- It also improves stamina and reduces stress.
It is important to know which exercises to do and to establish a schedule for doing them. Aerobic exercises (such as walking, jogging, dancing) are the best choice.