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Living Well with Diabetes: Exercise and Lifestyle

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While medication and regular check-ups are crucial, there are things you can do to manage it and live a healthy life. Exercise and lifestyle changes are two of the most important things you can do.  

Eat Healthy Foods 

One of the foundations of managing diabetes is making informed choices about what you eat. Choosing a balanced diet can go a long way in helping you control your blood sugar levels. Here are some dietary guidelines:  

  1. Choose Whole Foods: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are rich in essential nutrients and fibers that can help regulate blood sugar levels.  
  1. Limit Sugary Snacks and Drinks. Sugary treats and beverages can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. It’s best to limit these from your diet. 
  1. Control Portion Sizes. Paying attention to portion sizes helps avoid overeating, which can lead to blood sugar spikes. Be mindful of serving sizes to maintain steady glucose levels. 

Exercise Regularly 

Physical activity plays an important role in managing diabetes. Regular exercise helps improve insulin sensitivity and can lead to better blood sugar control. Here are some exercise tips: 

  1. Exercise: Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week, including a variety of resistance training, cardio, stretching and balance exercises. 
  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Exercising is important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Keep an eye on your Body Mass Index (BMI) by using this calculator and work towards a healthy range for your age and height. 
  1. Manage Stress: Physical activity is not just beneficial for your body but also for your mind. It can boost your mood and help you manage stress, which can adversely affect blood sugar levels. 

Stay Hydrated and Get Enough Sleep 

Hydration and sleep are often overlooked aspects of managing diabetes, but they play significant roles in your overall well-being. 

  1. Drink Water: Choosing water over sugary drinks can help prevent weight gain and blood sugar spikes. It is recommended for men to drink around 125 ounces a day and 91 ounces a day for women. Staying well-hydrated is essential for good health.  
  1. Prioritize Sleep: Quality sleep, between 7-9 hours per night, is vital for your body’s health and maintaining a healthy weight. Lack of sleep can impact your blood sugar levels and overall wellness. 

Manage Stress and Limit Alcohol 

Chronic stress and excessive alcohol consumption are two factors that can significantly impact your diabetes management. 

  1. Stress Management: Chronic stress can affect blood sugar levels. Seeking counseling or engaging in physical activity can help manage daily stress and improve your overall well-being.  
  1. Limit Alcohol: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Be mindful of your alcohol intake to maintain better control of your condition.  

Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment, but it is possible to live a healthy and fulfilling life with the right approach. By following these tips, you can make a difference in managing your diabetes and live well.   

Author: Kelley Soucy RN, CDCES | CCS Health 

This site is for educational purposes only. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before making any decisions about your health.    


schneik4. (2023, January 9). How much water you should drink every day. Cleveland Clinic.