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How to manage diabetes with diet and exercise

October 18, 2021
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Image of a plate with healthy food options surrounded by sneakers and exercise equipment

For many people with diabetes, managing the symptoms often requires medication. But nutrition and physical activity can play an important role in staying healthy with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Both can help keep blood sugar within the target range or bring it back down if it spikes.

Here are some tips for managing diabetes symptoms with diet and exercise:

Limit certain foods, such as:
Eat superfoods that fuel your body, such as:
Plan to eat regular, balanced meals to avoid high or low blood sugar levels.

Try to eat the same amount of carbs for each meal as well to keep your sugar levels in your target range. Some people with diabetes need to eat around the same time every day—depending on your medication, you may be able to be more flexible with the timing of your meals.

TIP! Check out the Diabetes Plate Method, created by the American Heart Association. Using this method, you can create well-portioned meals with a balance of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates—without any counting, calculating, weighing, or measuring!

Try adding physical activity, such as aerobic exercise or strength training, to your daily routine

Physical activity lowers your blood sugar levels and blood pressure and can help you burn extra calories to keep your weight down if necessary. If you aren’t used to physical exercise, you can start slowly and work your way up as you get more comfortable with your workout. The American Diabetes Association has a great article on how someone with Diabetes can safely start an exercise routine. Check it out here:

TIP! Want to know how to get more exercise into your day-to-day? Try the stairs instead of the elevator, or park at the far end of a parking lot when you go to a store. For those who are homebound, physical activity can include:

Managing your diabetes doesn’t have to be difficult. Although medication may still be important to managing your condition, diet and exercise can help keep your symptoms under control. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine and let them know if you have any questions or concerns about your diet or workouts.

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