Exercise When You Have Diabetes: Cultivating Rasa

Exercise When You Have Diabetes: Cultivating Rasa

May 17, 2024

Lowering Blood Sugar Overall—and Immediately

Exercise is highly effective in lowering blood sugar and blood pressure. My experience—and research has proven it—is that exercise lowers blood sugar, improves glycemic control, and can be used to lower blood sugar immediately. Squats, isometric exercises, and even calf raises can help in the short term, even while you're still at the table—and no one has to know.
However, one of the best ways to stabilize blood sugars is to maintain a regular routine. But what exercises should you do? How do you keep it interesting and fun? It can be challenging to incorporate regular physical activity into your routine—and for diabetics, it can be scary for fear of low blood sugars.
Here are some of the best exercises for achieving these goals, along with tips on overcoming common obstacles to exercise.

diabetic woman running on beach with dog

Best Exercises for Lowering Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure 1. Aerobic Exercise

  • Walking: A brisk 30-minute walk daily can significantly reduce blood sugar levels and improve cardiovascular health. The best part? You can do it anywhere, whether it's a stroll in the park, a walk around your neighborhood, or even some extra steps during your shopping trips.
  • Cycling: An excellent low-impact aerobic exercise that helps in lowering blood sugar and blood pressure. Hop on a bike for a scenic ride through town or an invigorating workout on a stationary bike at home.
  • Swimming: Provides a full-body workout that is gentle on the joints and effective in managing blood sugar and blood pressure. Plus, it's a refreshing way to stay cool and fit, especially during the summer.
  • Dancing: A fun way to increase your heart rate and manage blood sugar levels. Whether it's a Zumba class, a dance-off in your living room, or a night out with friends, dancing makes exercise feel less like a chore and more like a party.
  1. Strength Training
    • Weight Lifting: Helps build muscle mass, which can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. Start with light weights and gradually increase as you get stronger. You'll be surprised at how empowering it feels to lift!
    • **Bodyweight Exercises:

** Push-ups, squats, and lunges can be done anywhere and help in improving overall fitness and insulin sensitivity. These exercises are perfect for quick, effective workouts without any equipment.

  • Resistance Bands: A versatile tool for strength training that can help in lowering blood pressure and managing blood sugar. They're portable and easy to use, making them great for workouts at home or on the go.

  1. Flexibility and Balance Exercises

    • Yoga: Reduces stress, helps lower blood pressure and sugar, and improves insulin sensitivity. Yoga includes cardio, strength training, and flexibility training. It cultivates Rasa, promotes mindfulness, and is a moving meditation, and increases relaxation and mindfulness, which are great for overall well-being. Poses like Star Pose, Warrior, Downward Dog, and Tree Pose are particularly beneficial. As a Rasa Yoga teacher, I have tips and tricks to transform your yoga practices to make them more transformative. Let’s embrace the journey together!
    • Tai Chi: Similar to Yoga, Tai Chi is a form of Chi Gung that is self directed healing energy and is a low-impact exercise that improves balance and flexibility and helps manage blood pressure and blood sugar. The slow, flowing movements of Tai Chi make it a calming and meditative practice.
  2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

    • Short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest periods can be highly effective in improving insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular health. HIIT workouts can be adapted to any fitness level and can be done in a short amount of time, making them perfect for busy schedules.


      ## Addressing Obstacles to Exercising

      As a diabetic, special obstacles include the fear of low blood sugar. To prevent low blood sugar, add extra carbs, be sure to have glucose nearby, or lower your insulin during your exercise, and test your blood sugar before and after.

      1. **Lack of Time**

      - **Solution:** Break your exercise into smaller, manageable sessions throughout the day. Even 10-minute bursts of activity can be beneficial. Schedule exercise as you would any important appointment. Think of it as "me-time" that’s essential for your health and happiness.

      2. **Physical Limitations or Chronic Conditions**

      - **Solution:** Choose low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling, or yoga. Consult a healthcare provider or a physical therapist for personalized exercise recommendations. Remember, every little bit helps, and it’s important to find what works best for your body.

      3. **Lack of Motivation**

      - **Solution:** Set realistic goals and track your progress. Find an exercise buddy or join a class to make exercise more enjoyable and hold yourself accountable. Having someone to share the journey with can make a huge difference in staying motivated.

      4. **Fatigue**

      - **Solution:** Start with low-intensity exercises and gradually increase the intensity. Ensure you’re getting adequate rest and nutrition to support your exercise routine. Listen to your body and give yourself permission to rest when needed.

      5. **Boredom**

      - **Solution:** Mix different types of exercises to keep things interesting. Try new activities or join group classes to stay engaged. Keeping your workouts varied and fun can help prevent burnout and keep you excited about staying active.

      6. **Uncertain About Where to Start**

      - **Solution:** Begin with simple activities like walking or stretching. Gradually incorporate other types of exercise. Consider hiring a personal trainer or joining a beginner’s class to get guidance. Starting small and building up over time can make the process less overwhelming.

      As a Rasa Yoga teacher and Rasayana practitioner, I have tips and tricks to transform your yoga practice. Let’s embrace the journey together!

      Stay healthy and safe in all ways!

      Karin, Diabetic, Health Coach, and Business Consultant