Five Benefits of Exercise If You Have Type 2 Diabetes


Type Two Diabetes, or non-insulin dependent diabetes, affects millions of Americans and can lead to damage of body organs, including eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, and blood vessels. Fortunately, the disease can be managed and almost cured with proper changes in diet and exercise.

Let’s talk about one of those—the benefits of exercise if you have Type 2 Diabetes.

Of course, before beginning an exercise program, if you do have Diabetes, you should complete a medical evaluation to assess your glycemic control and to screen for any complication that may be made worse by exercise.

And with that go-ahead from your doctor, if you are looking for ideas about exercise and how to get started, check out these tips.

And here are gains you stand to make against Type 2 Diabetes by incorporating exercise into your lifestyle:

1. Improve insulin sensitivity

This means that the insulin that your body produces works better when you exercise, making your diabetes more manageable.
 

2. Lower your blood sugar

Exercise uses glucose, therefore lowering the amount that is in your blood. It will be important to monitor your glucose levels before during and after exercise as you work to control your diabetes. You can record your blood sugar levels by using the ImagineCare app, ensuring that you have a record to see your progress over time and can share it with your care providers.
 

3. Lose Weight!

Almost everyone wants to lose a little bit of weight, but few can benefit more than someone who is overweight and living with Type 2 Diabetes. Luckily, weight loss is a nice side-effect of exercise, so choose a form of exercise that you really enjoy (e.g. walking or skiing) and get moving!
 

4. Control your blood pressure

It is quite common for folks with Diabetes to also have high blood pressure. Getting the recommended amount of weekly exercise (150 minutes of easy to moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of high intensity) can help reduce blood pressure.
 

5. Increase your energy and improve sleep

Exercise is really quite invigorating, and people who do it consistently tend to feel more energized AND sleep better, which can only help to improve outcomes of someone living with Diabetes.


If you wish to speak with one of our excellent Registered Nurses here at ImagineCare, we are here 24/7 at 844-346-2446. We can discuss your condition in depth with you and work to make a plan with your provider.

~Marco

Marco Day, an ImagineCare Health Navigator, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Movement Training Specialist. Prior to joining ImagineCare, he worked with clients at River Valley Club in Lebanon, NH, on exercise program design and prescription, weight-loss corrective exercise prescription, and personal training. He loves any opportunity to help people make positive health changes.

Tips for Beating the Freeze and Staying Fit

So you’ve done it: you consulted with your doctor, you created a wellness plan that included regular exercise, and you’ve managed to stick with it so far. Fantastic! But now it’s winter, and not only are you struggling for new ideas to keep active, but the weather isn’t helping your motivation. No worries—ImagineCare is here to help!

The winter months can make finding the time and energy to exercise feel like an overwhelming task. Between the shorter days and frigid temperatures, sometimes it just seems easier to set your exercise and wellness goals on the backburner...but don’t! While it’s okay to take the occasional day off, sticking to your normal exercise routine will help you maintain your gains and keep you from feeling sluggish over the holidays.

Not sure what activities you can do in this winter weather? Here are some ideas from the ImagineCare team:

Cross-Country Skiing
Calories Burned Per Hour: 576

This is a great workout for both your upper and lower body. If distance skiing isn’t your thing, try downhill skiing for an equally effective workout.
 

Snowboarding
Calories Burned Per Hour: 429

Tired of skiing and looking for a new challenge? Try snowboarding to strengthen your legs and core.
 

Snowshoeing
Calories Burned Per Hour: 576

Similar to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing is another alternative to running during the winter months. Take a friend and enjoy the scenery during your adventure.
 

Sledding
Calories Burned per Hour: 468

Unleash your inner child and spend an afternoon sledding. All that walking uphill and steering burns calories and helps strengthen your core.
 

Ice-skating
Calories Burned Per Hour: 504

The great thing about ice skating is you that you can participate outdoors AND indoors! It’s also a great activity for families and children.
 

Have a Snowball Fight
Calories Burned Per Hour: 520

Another great activity to do with children, a good old fashioned snowball fight will get your heart rate up. Any activities that involve playing in the snow accomplish the same goal.
 

Ice Hockey
Calories Burned Per Hour: 549

Take ice-skating to the next level by playing ice hockey. This fast-paced activity can also be played outdoors or indoors and is sure to get your blood pumping.
 

Meditate
Calories Burned Per Hour: 71

Although meditation doesn’t burn a lot of calories, using it to block out distractions, manage stress, and focus on relaxation has long-term health benefits such as lowering heart rate and boosting immunity.
 

Yoga
Calories Burned Per Hour: 300

Yoga is also a lower-calorie burning activity, but in addition to its stress-reduction benefits, yoga can also build muscle strength, improve flexibility, and increase blood flow.
 

Basic Stretches to Help with Flexibility and Joint Pain


Millions of people suffer from joint and muscle pain due to a lack of flexibility or a limited range of motion in a certain joint or series of joints. For example, if you’ve ever suffered from back or knee pain, this can be a result of tight muscles in the legs and hips. And many factors affect your flexibility, including age, sex, lifestyle, joint structure, activity level, and past injuries.

Having good flexibility will prevent injuries from occurring during activities like running, walking, gardening, or even something as simple as bending over to pick up something off the floor. My goal here is to show you a series of stretches that you can work into your daily (or weekly) routine.

There are many types of stretches, but the four most common are ballistic, dynamic, static and P.N.F. We are going to explore static stretching techniques because they are the simplest to perform and are quite safe for people of all abilities.

I will be providing you with two variations of each stretch, so if you have an orthopedic injury or are less flexible, please use the modified stretch. You can do these stretches every day, but to get good results, try for a minimum of three times a week doing each stretch 2-3 times.

And say hi to Andrea (in purple) and Morgan (in blue), who will be demonstrating the stretches for us!


(Tips: Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds, or less if you are a beginner. Emphasize slow, smooth movements. The best time to stretch is after physical activity when the body’s core temperature is warmest.)

Calves

Having tight calves can affect the way you move which can lead to knee and back pain as well as poor posture. This stretch will fix all that business.

Standard: With good upper-body posture, place your hands on the wall, and put one foot on the wall with the heal on the ground. The opposite foot should be flat on the floor and both legs relatively straight. Your hips should be level and not rotated.

Modified: With good upper-body posture, place your hands on the wall, and put one foot forward on the ground and the other back behind you flat on the floor. The front knee should be bent at a 45-degree angle and both feet should be facing forward with the hips even and not rotated.
 

Hamstring

Screaming “I pulled a hammie!” will be a thing of the past after this one.

Standard: With one foot flat on the floor, place the other heel on the chair with the toe pointed straight up. Keeping your back straight and hips square with the wall, reach towards your foot until you feel the stretch in your hamstring.

Modified: The only difference with this one is to keep a slight bend in the top leg, while still making sure your back is straight.
 

Quadriceps

Runner’s knee, arthritis, and tendonitis can all be resolved or relieved by lengthening your “thigh,” or quadriceps muscle.

Standard: Steady yourself with your hand, keep your abdominals engaged, bring one foot up behind you on to the chair. Bring above your head the same arm as the leg you are stretching.

Modified: We modify this stretch by simply using a lower chair, which prevents the knee from flexing as much. This can be helpful for beginners or folks with knee injuries.
 

Hip Flexor

This stretch can help with hip and back pain, so give it a go.

Standard: Keeping your abdominals engaged, kneel on one knee with the opposite leg bent at 90 degrees. Push your hips forward just a little bit until you feel a slight stretch in the hip flexor muscle.

Modified: Not kneeling for this one, keep one leg back and straight. Bend the front knee.
 

Shoulder

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It’s always a good idea to loosen up the shoulders. Besides, this stretch just feels good. 

There’s only one version of this stretch. Be easy on this one. Bring one arm over very gently until you feel a gentle stretch behind the shoulder.
 

Chest/postural

Because we spend so much time sitting at the computer or driving, it’s important to open up our chest and shoulders to reverse the damage we are doing. Don’t slack on this one.

Standard: With one foot back and the other forward (doesn’t matter which), place hands on a doorway and walk through until you feel a nice stretch in your chest muscles (NOT IN THE SHOULDERS)

Modified: Very similar to the standard stretch, just bend the elbows and don’t walk as far into the stretch.
 

More advanced stretches:
 

Downward Facing Dog

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This is a fairly advanced stretch with a huge return on investment. It is actually a yoga pose, and it stretches many parts of the body, including arms, shoulders, chest, back, hamstrings, and calves!

Standard: Start on your hands and knees, come up to a pushup position, then push back to form an upside-down V shape. Keep breathing deeply in through the nose into your belly, then out through the mouth.

Modified: Almost the same as the standard version, just place a pad or block under your heels to make the stretch a bit easier. You can also have a slight bend in the knees.
 

Child's Pose

Very good for bringing all of your major joints through a full range of motion.

Kneel down with your feet together and knees apart, with the tops of your feet on the floor. Bring your body down, keeping your arms above your head. Breath diaphragmatically (in through the nose into your belly, out through pursed lips). If the stretch feels like too much, place a blanket in between your feet and your backside.

~Marco

Marco Day, an ImagineCare Health Navigator, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Movement Training Specialist. Prior to joining ImagineCare, he worked with clients at River Valley Club in Lebanon, NH, on exercise program design and prescription, weight-loss corrective exercise prescription, and personal training. He loves any opportunity to help people make positive health changes.

How to Get Started with an Exercise Routine—TODAY!


No matter your age, fitness level, or what your motivations are, it can be difficult to get started with an exercise routine. It may be partly because we're constantly bombarded with health and fitness information, a lot of which can be incorrect or misleading. This leads us to taking no action at all, when in fact just a little bit of activity can have a profoundly positive impact on our short-term and long-term health.

As an ImagineCare Health Navigator and a Certified Personal Trainer, I want to make it easy for you to get started with an exercise routine today, and by using the Microsoft Band 2 and ImagineCare app you can enjoy tracking your workouts and monitoring your improvement.

Even short, 10-minutes bouts of moderate-intensity exercise can help lower blood pressure, burn calories, improve sleep, and improve mental health.

To see a marked improvement in your health from exercising will not require as much time as you think.

So let’s get started!

If you have the Microsoft Band 2 on your wrist, slide over to the “running” tile, press the action button, and go for a 10-minute walk at a moderate-to-vigorous pace twice a day. Just by doing that much, you will receive the cardiovascular benefits of exercise.

If you have more time, try walking 20-60 minutes at a time, twice a day, or turn it into a light run 2-5 times a week.

You will notice that, in just a few workouts, what used to feel very difficult is now getting easier, and soon you’ll want to increase the intensity of your workout by walking or running faster, or trying out some of the hills in your neighborhood. This is called “Progression,” and this is good!

Honestly, you don’t need to invest a great deal of time in your exercise program, as long as you get your heart rate up with some moderate-to-vigorous cardiovascular activity.

What do I mean by moderate-to-vigorous activity? At a moderate intensity, it should feel like you are working harder than a normal, leisurely walk, but it's still relatively easy to have a conversation. Vigorous intensity should make it fairly difficult to have a conversation.

I tend to recommend that beginners start at a moderate intensity and work their way toward vigorous intensity over a period of a month.

Maintaining the routine is key. After a little while, I think you’ll notice how much better you feel and how much you enjoy doing it!

If you already take part in a regular exercise program, that’s awesome! Stay tuned for future blog posts to help elevate your game.

And if you have any health conditions that would prevent you from safely practicing this exercise routine, I definitely recommend consulting with your physician before you start.

Still have questions about how to get started? You can always contact ImagineCare’s support at support@imaginecare.com. 

~Marco

Marco Day, an ImagineCare Health Navigator, is a Certified Personal Trainer and Movement Training Specialist. Prior to joining ImagineCare, he worked with clients at River Valley Club in Lebanon, NH, on exercise program design and prescription, weight-loss corrective exercise prescription, and personal training. He loves any opportunity to help people make positive health changes.