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Being Active With Type 2 Diabetes

Don't Forget Flexibility!

While you may find yourself rushed to get your daily exercise in, it's important to save some time to stretch. This activity helps to maintain your flexibility, lowers stress, and prevents those sore muscles.
 
When warming up, try to do gentle stretching for 5 to 10 minutes, which will help get your body warmed up and prepared for aerobic activities. Some ideas for flexibility exercises include:
 
  • Yoga
  • Basic (static) stretches
  • Dynamic stretches (such as high knees or back kicks)
  • Pilates
  • Tai chi
  • Balancing stretches, such as walking backward or standing on one leg at a time.
 
Don't rush through these stretches, as it is important to make sure you do them correctly. It shouldn't ever feel painful. Some helpful tips for stretching and flexibility exercises include:
 
  • Keep it comfortable.
  • Relax as you stretch.
  • Stretch only to the point that you feel mild tension.
  • Hold a steady stretch for 5 to 15 seconds.
  • If you are doing dynamic stretches, keep your movements fluid.
  • Don't forget to breathe! Breathe deeply and slowly as you stretch.
  • If you start to feel discomfort, ease off the stretch.
 
Some things to avoid with stretching exercises include:
 
  • Bouncing or bobbing as you stretch
  • Holding your breath
  • Focusing on tension-creating thoughts
  • Straining or pushing to the point of feeling pain.
 

Are There Activities I Shouldn't Do?

In some cases, you may have certain problems that can be made worse by exercise. For example, if you have diabetic eye problems, doing certain activities, such as weight lifting, may increase the pressure in the blood vessels of your eyes, making your eye problems potentially worse.
 
Those who have nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) and have numbness in their feet may need to opt for swimming instead of walking as a form of aerobic exercise. Those who have this specific problem may not be able to feel pain in their feet, such as blisters or sores. Without proper treatment, even minor foot problems can lead to serious complications, possibly even amputation. After exercising, make sure to check your feet for cuts, sores, redness, or any other signs of problems. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you notice any foot problems.
 
Common Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy

Information on Type 2 Diabetes

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