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Exercise and Diabetes

Information provided by Gina Baxter, UT Health East Texas Olympic Center Tyler Operations Manager.


Regardless of the type of diabetes you have, exercise and physical activity are important for overall health and wellness. Regular exercise has many benefits including improvement in blood sugar control, weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular benefits. Engaging in regular, consistent exercise also can reduce A1C levels over time.

Exercise programs for people with diabetes should include some form of aerobic activity, strength training and flexibility exercises. Aerobic exercise benefits the heart and lungs and includes activities like walking, swimming, biking or taking a group fitness class. Strength training involves the use of free weights, weight machines, resistance bands or just your own bodyweight to increase muscle tone and strength. Besides making your body stronger, the benefits of strength training also include increased metabolism and better bone health. Flexibility activities are things like yoga, Pilates, or just general stretching to elongate the muscles and help you move better and avoid injury.

General recommendations for exercise include 150 minutes a week of some form of cardiovascular exercise, two to three days a week of strength training using a moderately heavy weight for two to three sets of 12-15 repetitions and at least two to three days a week of some form of flexibility training. Exercise prescriptions vary based on an individual’s age, health history and ability. It is always recommended that you get your doctor’s approval before starting an exercise program.

The UT Health East Texas Olympic Center is proud to offer Exercise Is Medicine to our community. The Exercise is Medicine program provides a unique opportunity for individuals to receive a FREE, two-week pass to a local UT Health East Texas Olympic Center after meeting with a degreed and certified exercise specialist for an initial fitness assessment, goal development and exercise prescription. Participants diagnosed with diabetes will receive additional guidance and education specific to their disease through our built-out specialized tracks within the program.

To qualify, participants must be referred by their physician. Please click here to find the referral form and more information about the program.

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