Practicing regular exercise is an essential part to your daily diabetes management. Whether you have been living with type 2 diabetes for a significant period of time or recently received a diagnosis, staying active is crucial to avoiding diabetes-related complications like cardiovascular disease and nerve damage. One exercise that offers many health benefits and can help you manage your diabetes is biking.
Recognize the health benefits of biking
Riding a bike is a low-impact, aerobic exercise that offers several major health benefits for your body. Biking is considered aerobic due to the action of pushing the pedals, which causes your heart rate to increase, more blood to pump through your blood vessels, your lungs to work harder and ultimately breathe deeper. When incorporating aerobic exercise into your daily routine, you can take control of your body by lowering blood sugar, A1c levels, boosting heart health, maintaining a lower body weight, and building muscle mass. While pedaling, you actively use your gluteus muscles, quadriceps, gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, and also the abdominal muscles while balancing on the bicycle. Another health benefit that biking offers is strengthening bones. Bone is actually living tissue, and just as muscles grow when exercising, bones strengthen, too. This is beneficial in helping the body fight against aging bone to avoid other diseases such as osteoporosis. Also, when your bones are stronger with the help of biking, your body becomes more susceptible to intake vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium.
Regular exercise is essential with diabetes
Now, you might be thinking, “how does biking relate to diabetes?” Type 2 diabetes is a serious illness that affects tens of millions of individuals in the United States. For someone without diabetes, food digests and transfers to energy efficiently. Normally, the body is highly sensitive to the hormone insulin, that guides blood sugar to cells. For someone with type 2 diabetes, insulin doesn’t work sufficiently to move sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells to be used as energy. Insulin resistance can be a result of genetics or lifestyle choices that cause blood glucose to increase, such as poor diet and lack of exercise. If blood sugar isn’t removed from your blood vessels in a timely manner, there can be negative side effects such as kidney failure, heart disease, and nerve damage. To avoid type 2-related complications and keep blood glucose levels in a healthy range, one important factor is exercising. Riding a bike is the perfect exercise to practice for diabetes management because it’s not only easy on the body, but it also works almost every facet of your body to allow you to live a healthier life.
How the benefits of biking help control your diabetes
Primarily, biking is proven to lower the risk of adopting type 2 diabetes by 20%. The regular practice of this aerobic exercise helps your body produce and use blood sugar at a healthy rate, which over time contributes to the prevention of diabetes. For those living with the disease, making an effort to ride a bike for at least 20 miles a week, or just under 3 miles a day, will also reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by 50%. With high blood sugar, you’re already at risk for several heart-related issues, and cycling will be useful in dodging these life-threatening complications. This risk reduction is possible because biking forces your heart to pump, pushing your lungs and heart to work overtime, which will lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of obesity, and other adverse effects that are already increased with T2D. One of the primary diabetes-related problems is with nerves and circulation. Over time, high blood sugar will create damage within blood vessels causing circulation to slow and result in numbness, and in extreme cases, amputation. However, when biking is a regular part of your daily routine, you force blood to flow through the body and prevent possible conflicts.
Another essential health benefit for diabetics that biking promotes is building muscle. Forming and strengthening muscle is crucial for those who have type 2 diabetes because muscle helps manage blood sugar. As you work to grow muscle, there is a need for blood sugar to transfer to this organ for more energy in order to increase muscle mass. In return, this will decrease the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. While performing muscle-building aerobic exercises such as biking, your body acts as a pump that pushes blood sugar out of the bloodstream and into the muscle for fuel as they grow. Because there is less blood sugar present, insulin has the ability to work more efficiently. Also, with excess blood glucose, sugar will eventually attach to collagen in the bones, changing your bone structure. Then, bones become less flexible and more brittle, resulting in a higher risk of fractures and breaks. It’s because of this process that gaining an increase in bone density from biking is perfect for people with type 2.
Biking can be a great and easy way to incorporate exercise into your daily life and diabetes care plan. When beginning your journey to biking with diabetes, always consult with your doctor to ensure it’s the right path for you!
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