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Diabetes Health Center

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How to Succeed With Your Diabetes Exercise Plan

Take It One Step at a Time

When Auyer heard about a weight loss and exercise class at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, she signed up fast.

She learned strength training exercises using elastic bands. She also started interval training, which means you switch your intensity or pace to make it harder or easier throughout your workout. For instance, Auyer walks on a treadmill for 10 minutes and then runs for a few more minutes.

"The next thing you know, an hour has gone by, and I feel so invigorated,” she says.

Get stronger, and your muscles burn more glucose. You will also burn more calories, says Shahar, who taught Auyer’s class.

Reaping the Benefits

To Auyer’s delight, her blood sugar levels improved.

"Almost immediately, I noticed a change in my morning blood sugars, which are always really high," she says. After she started to exercise regularly, "they were dropping from an average of about 140 to 110. I was so excited one day -- I had one under 100."

Shahar tells people with diabetes that “their muscles are kind of sleeping, so they’re not burning glucose or calories. But if they exercise, they keep their muscles awake all the time. They keep burning calories, they lose weight, [and] they make the glucose work more efficiently in their body."

Miss a Workout?

Setbacks happen -- you get sick, go on a trip, or have a crunch time at work. Make it a point to get back on track.

Auyer’s advice: Remember why you started.

"For me, that reason was my father. This is what he would want and this is important," she says. "That's the motivation to keep going."

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Reviewed on August 21, 2014

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