The American Diabetes Association notes that as of 2012, diabetes affects more than 9 percent of the American population, or approximately 29.1 million people. Exercises that lower weight, improve blood sugar levels and strengthen the body may help manage diabetes properly. Swimming is one exercise that can empower you in these three areas. It is more effective than walking or running as part of your diabetes management routine.
Exercise and Blood Sugar
Active muscles absorb blood sugar more effectively and more efficiently. Because of this, exercise lowers blood sugar levels. The benefits of controlling glucose levels in the blood lasts for hours or days after exercise, but the effects are not permanent. Therefore, you should exercise regularly to help manage diabetes. Regular, less intense, workouts are an important factor to keep your blood sugar levels within normal ranges. Have a small snack after your swimming workout to help maintain proper blood sugar levels.
Plan Your Workouts
Plan a beginner’s workout to start your swimming regimen. Start easy with simple water aerobics or swimming techniques that improve your breathing, like the video suggests. Gradually increase your distance. Begin with short distances — from one end of the pool to the other — and eventually swim several hundred yards in one session as your fitness level improves. Find a good swim coach at your local pool and work together to create a personalized workout routine that adjusts as you improve. Some cities and YMCA organizations have dedicated aquatic programs to assist people who need regular exercise, and these programs start with easier exercises before moving to more advanced techniques.
To start, try to swim for 10 minutes a day, three days per week. As your strength and endurance increase, build up to swim as much as 30 to 60 minutes per day. Regular workouts in the pool put less stress on your joints and muscles than other exercises, as the water minimizes the impact of gravity on your bones and joints. Swimming naturally stretches and relaxes your muscles, putting less stress on your legs and feet than running or walking.
Livestrong notes swimming may have mental benefits as well. Floating and gliding through the cool water leaves your brain, as well as your body, refreshed. Swim with your family and enjoy family time together as you exercise. Nothing cures a hot summer day like a swim at the local pool, gym or YMCA.
When you’re ready to start swimming laps, proper form is important. A shows the correct way to perform a basic freestyle stroke. Look down as you swim; otherwise, tension increases on your head and neck. Looking down aligns the spine properly. If you need to look forward, do so at an angle so your hips rise closer to the surface of the water. Rotate your body side-to-side as you swim forward to prevent your shoulders from becoming stiff and achy. Avoid swimming flat with large, overhead motions. Keep your legs aligned with your body and kick with your hips which are stronger than your knees. This helps protect your joints and provide a smooth, more comfortable swim.
Cardiovascular and Muscular Benefits
Aside from lower blood sugar levels, swimming increases cardiovascular strength, lowers blood pressure and improves muscle tone. Joints move easier in the water, reducing wear and tear on knees, ankles, elbows and shoulders. Your body gets a better overall workout by moving all muscle groups at the same time as you coordinate your arms, legs, back and hips.
Check with your doctor before you begin swimming to help combat your diabetes. If possible, always swim in a pool that has a lifeguard on duty, and you should notify the lifeguard that you have diabetes in case any issues arise during the workout. Swimming could lead to a lifelong love of exercise, as well as a longer life in general, as you try to out-swim diabetes. Although swimming may not be the only answer to controlling diabetes, this type of workout represents one way you can feel better while improving your overall health as a diabetic.Whizzco