Stretching Exercises For Diabetes
Fitness

Stretching Exercises For Diabetes

Stretching exercises for people with diabetes are focused on the muscles, nerves, and joints that often are under stress due to high blood sugar levels. Further in this article, we will discuss all the exercises available to tone your muscles and add flexibility which will significantly reduce nerve and joint stiffness and ease your muscles cramps. So, read further to get the complete guide to the most effective exercises to ease your joint, nerve, and muscle discomforts resulting from diabetes or any other physical ailment that you may have. 

Benefits of Stretching Exercises

One of the major reasons stretching exercises are recommended for people with diabetes is that studies have shown that stretching helps activate better the circulation of blood vessels in the muscles and joints, allowing the cells to absorb glucose more efficiently. Stretching exercises for diabetes aim to improve insulin sensitivity which is affected due to constant rise in blood sugar levels. The constant rise in glucose levels renders the cells insensitive to insulin, resulting in the cells not being able to absorb the glucose for providing energy to the body.  

How to Stretch Safely?

As much as stretching exercises are beneficial for people with diabetes and without diabetes alike, you can get the posture and exercises wrong, if not done correctly. These exercises are not meant to be done like warm-ups to warm the cold muscles. Stretching the cold muscles can result in cramps and stiffness, so a light jog or movement before stretching is suggested. 

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Finding Stretching Exercises you enjoy

Not every stretching exercise is meant for you, as we are all different in our ways. Stretching exercises for people with diabetes are meant to improve blood circulation throughout the body, improving glucose absorption by the cells. So, focus on exercises that you enjoy and make you feel better rather than imitating a celebrity or any other known figure whose goal could be completely different from yours. The aim of your exercise should not be the extent of pain you feel as you might end up cramping. Rather, focus on exercises that you enjoy or make you feel better to be consistent. 

1. Stretching for Hamstring Muscles

The hamstring muscle is responsible for supporting your hips and legs, which is why people with diabetes need to focus on this muscle to improve their hip and leg flexibility. You can do this anywhere as you just need a place to either lie down or sit with some support to your legs. Follow these steps for stretching the hamstring muscle.

  1. Sit on the floor, or any flat surface with your legs completely stretched frontward. 
  2. Raise your arms and bend forward to touch your toes without bending your knees. 
  3. Hold this position for as long as you can and pull back. Repeat it as many times as you are comfortable. 

You can do this stretch with your legs apart as well and do it on one leg at a time with both your hands touching each of them. 

2. Stretching for Calf Muscles

Calf muscles are the muscles at the back of your lower leg that stretch from behind the knee to almost the ankle. Tight calf muscles can result in severe leg cramps and difficulty in walking. Do these steps to each of your calf muscles. 

  1. You will have to stand from the wall at an arm's length distance for this exercise.
  2. Put your left leg in front of your right leg without letting your left leg get any closer to the wall. 
  3. While you are in this position, reach for the wall with your hand and put your hands flat on the wall. Hold this position for as long as you can and repeat it. 

Repeat this with the other leg for a few times. This exercise can also be done without having a wall around. Just stand in the same position with your right or left leg in front of the other. The heel of the leg behind should be pressed against the floor. 

3. Stretching for Shoulders

The shoulder and neck are some of the most vulnerable places because physical stress shows up frequently. Like the lower body, the upper body can also be under physical stress. The exercises to relieve pain from these areas need to be done with caution. Here's an easy stretching exercise that will ease the shoulder and neck pain by loosening the tension on the upper body. 

  1. For this exercise, keep your chin down toward your chest as you feel some stretch along the back of your neck and shoulder. 
  2. Gradually tilt your head toward your right shoulder to pull the right shoulder muscle.
  3. Hold this position for as long as you are comfortable or unless the stretch is felt significantly. 
  4. Repeat this stretch on the other side of the shoulder- once on the right, then on the left, and vice versa. 

Physical stress is frequently felt on the neck and shoulder, which are more vulnerable than the leg muscles. So, do this stretching exercise for shoulders to relieve cramps and tight muscles. 

Bottomline

Stretching exercises for diabetes are necessary to help the cells absorb the glucose from the blood efficiently, which will help increase insulin sensitivity. Stretching exercises help control the blood sugar levels and improve metabolism and reduce stiffness and pain in the muscles, nerves, and joints, which are among the major symptoms of diabetes. Diabetes can either be a lifestyle or a genetic disorder that can be eased with healthy and proper lifestyle habits. So, being consistent with the exercises will help ease the high glucose levels symptoms. 

FAQs

Can Stretching Help with Diabetes?

Some studies have suggested that regular stretching can help improve blood sugar levels. So if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you can start some mild stretching exercises and move to advanced exercises as you proceed further in your journey. According to studies, stretching can be used to improve circulation in the muscles’ and joints’ tiny blood vessels, enabling more glucose absorption by cells.  

Can Stretching Help Lower Blood Sugar?

Passive stretching exercises have been found to boost oxygen consumption and generate heat production in human muscles. It happens due to the incorporation of GLUT-4 into the stretched muscles. It translates to increased metabolic activity resulting in reduced blood glucose (sugar) levels in muscles. 

What is the Best Exercise for a Diabetic?

There are various exercises deemed beneficial for people diagnosed with diabetes. Although beginners should start with mild stretching exercises, they can later be paired with swimming, strength training, climbing stairs, biking, yoga, and more. If you have been living a quiet sedentary lifestyle for a long time, consider hiring a fitness trainer who can curate a personalized exercise plan depending on your health condition. 

What is the Best, Most Effective Exercise to Lower Blood Sugar?

If you have constantly been reporting high blood sugar levels, you should start exercising to control the levels. Some of the best exercises to help lower your blood sugar level include brisk walking, dancing, hiking, swimming, weight lifting, stretching exercises, running, etc. If you’re just starting, don’t begin with intense and strenuous exercises to prevent any bodily injury. Start with basic exercises and update your plan after a few months with more challenging exercises.

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