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Don’t let diabetes hold you back! Exercise your way to a better future.

Being physically active is beneficial for everyone, it helps to control weight, lower blood pressure, and helps to strengthen muscles.

For people living with diabetes, there are added benefits to being physically active, whether you’re able to go for a walk, run or swim. 

“Exercise lowers blood glucose levels and boosts your body’s sensitivity to insulin, countering insulin resistance.”

Harvard Health Publishing
Taking up a hobby like photography can help motivate you to get outside.

NHS England recommend that adults should

  • aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still.
  • do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week.
  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week.

Getting Started

Before getting started, there may be a few things to think about

  • What time do you have available each day for physical activity?
  • What activity or activities do you enjoy? Picking something you enjoy can help ensure you stick with it.

Things to remember

  • Don’t push yourself too hard, too fast. It’s no good running 5 miles the first day but then aching too much to exercise the rest of the week, you would be better going for a 10-minute run or walk each day.
  • Start as you mean to go on and remember to take rest days.

Activity Suggestions

Top 3 Exercises

  • Walking is the easiest exercise anyone can do. Walking can be done almost anywhere and you can walk on your own, with friends or with pets.

“Spending 30 minutes of brisk walking, five times each week is a great way to increase your physical activity. You can even break this 30 minutes down into 10-minute sessions three times a day.”

Cleveland Clinic
  • Swimming helps takes the pressure off your joints while stretching and relaxing your muscles.

“To get the most benefit from swimming, we recommend that you swim at least three times a week for at least ten minutes and gradually increase the length of the workout.”

Cleveland Clinic
  • Yoga helps to reduce stress levels while building strength and improving your balance and flexibility.

Yoga is also effective to improve blood glucose levels due to the improved muscle mass that comes with consistent Yoga practice. That’s not all; apparently, Yoga helps to lower body fat and fight insulin resistance too.”

Health and Body Tips
Listening to music can help keep you motivated, here’s a yoga playlist to get you started.

Other activity ideas

If you are not ready or are unable to do any of the above at first, then activities such as housework and gardening can also be a good workout. Any exercise is better than none and once you have built up strength, you can try new exercises.

Gardening is a great form of exercise and it can be a solitary activity or one the grandchildren can get involved in!

Information on glucose levels and weight management can be found here.

Eating for a healthy heart

What is Heart Disease?

“Heart disease includes conditions that narrow or block blood vessels (coronary heart disease). This can lead to a heart attack, angina and some strokes. Heart disease also covers conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or cause abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias).”

British Heart Foundation

There are many different types and causes of heart disease. There are many factors that can put people at risk of heart disease.

Some of these include;

” – Age. Growing older increases your risk of damaged and narrowed arteries and a weakened or thickened heart muscle.

Sex. Men are generally at greater risk of heart disease. The risk for women increases after menopause.

Family History. A family history of heart disease increases your risk of coronary artery disease, especially if a parent developed it at an early age (before age 55 for a male relative, such as your brother or father, and 65 for a female relative, such as your mother or sister).”

Mayo Clinic

Poor lifestyle choices such as a diet full of sugar, salt and fat, smoking and a lack of physical activity can be contributing factors to developing heart disease.

While there is no cure for heart disease, it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom there are some ways that you can prevent heart disease.

  • Being more physical
  • Improve your diet – cut out junk food
  • Quitting smoking
  • Having regular health screenings
  • Getting enough sleep

Further information about heart disease prevention can be found here.

Good food for helping/preventing heart disease?

There are many recommendations about what food is best to eat for preventing heart disease with the most common ones being fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein.

“A low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, which should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (5 portions a day) and whole grains.

You should limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than 6g (0.2oz) a day as too much salt will increase your blood pressure. 6g of salt is about 1 teaspoonful.”

NHS England

Eating more fresh fruit and vegetables can help with heart disease because many are low in calories and they contain vitamins and nutrients which help contribute to heart health.

Whole grains are a great source of fibre which can help control cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Whole grain foods include brown rice, wholegrain pasta, and wholegrain bread.

Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. If eaten in moderation healthy fat can help lower cholesterol and protect against strokes and heart attacks.

Lean Protein such eggs and lean ground meat or even oily fish like salmon can help lower cholesterol and contribute to your health overall.

Food to avoid can be found here.


Healthy Heart Recipes

10 heart healthy meals

Heart disease diet plan

Living with Heart Disease

“Living with a heart condition can mean coming to terms with what’s happened and how different aspects of your life may be affected.”

NHS Inform

Tips for living with heart disease can be found here.