3 Exercise Myths That Can Impact Diabetes Control

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, implementing a regular exercise routine is one of the best ways to manage your health.

Yet there are a number of exercise "myths" that can lead to poor choices and - potentially - dangerous outcomes. If you have diabetes, do your best to educate yourself about the safest, most effective ways to work out.

Here are four common misconceptions about physical activity that may impact your diabetes control:

1. Exercise will make you too tired.

Some people with diabetes become overcautious about exercise, fearing that too much or too strenuous an activity can negatively impact blood sugar or lead to hypoglycemic episodes.

While it is true that diabetics are at risk for low blood sugar after exercise, this is mostly true for people with type 1 diabetes. Moreover, if your blood sugar is consistently well-maintained, you can easily determine what you need to eat both before and after a workout in order to stay energized.

If you're just starting an exercise routine, you may feel tired after your workouts, but working out should quickly lead to a boost in your energy level throughout the day.

If you're tired after exercising, it may that you're working out too hard or there is an underlying condition causing the fatigue. Always talk to your doctor with specific concerns about exercise and your energy levels. It could be that you simply need to adjust when, how long or how hard you are working out.

2. Crunches will help you get rid of abdominal fat.

Fat around the belly - especially in middle-age or older adults - is very often linked to metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes and diabetes. Getting rid of this abdominal fat will often lead to better health outcomes, including improved insulin sensitivity.

Yet crunches or abdominal work won't fix the problem alone. Overall fat loss should be your goal, as you can't spot-target fat loss to one area.

When it comes to belly fat - and fat in general - experts suggest that diet is about 80 percent of the equation. Focus on eating healthy to lose belly fat, along with a regular exercise routine.

3. Exercise cancels out bad food choices.

While tracking your carbohydrates and nutrients is a smart way to ensure you don't go overboard, exercising doesn't mean you can necessarily eat more or eat unhealthier foods without consequences.

The "calories in, calories out" equation may be true for some people, but having diabetes means your energy expenditure and metabolism work differently. Weight loss and weight gain are affected by factors other than caloric intake, and the type of exercise you perform will also affect these processes.

This doesn't mean if you have diabetes you can't enjoy indulgences, but do so with the idea in mind that they aren't "canceled out" by a workout.

Source: Diabetes in Control, ADA

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