Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle
If you were only recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, changing your lifestyle may be the only therapy you need. By successfully dropping certain bad habits, you may be well on your way to lowering your blood sugar levels.
Changing your lifestyle simply means choosing a healthier diet and exercising more.
What is a healthy diet?
Diabetics should observe a healthy, balanced diet that provides all required nutrients without too many calories. A varied, flavoursome, mixed diet is recommended. You should also eat food that you like. After all, food should also be a source of enjoyment.
The primary source of nutrition should be cereal-based products, wholegrain in particular, alongside potatoes, rice, vegetables, salads and fruit. Go easy on fatty foods, such as sausage, meat, nuts and fats. Low-fat milk and milk products are also included in the diet (note the fat content!) And if you like fish, it is recommended to eat oily fish on 1 or 2 days per week.
You may enjoy household sugar in small amounts. However, you should not use it by itself or in liquid form since it can cause your blood sugar to rise too quickly. If you eat sugar in combination with fat, protein and fibre, i.e. cake, chocolate or wholegrain baked goods, your blood glucose will not rise as rapidly. Go easy on the salt.
Losing weight if you are obese can improve the blood glucose levels, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Physical activity is an important pillar of any diabetes therapy
It trains the cardiovascular system, supports losing weight, and improves insulin sensitivity. As a result, less insulin is required in total, and cholesterol and blood pressure values improve. And last but not least, the body's entire metabolism is favourably influenced. Exercise and/or physical activity also counteracts premature ageing processes, and not only keeps the body physically, but also mentally fit. In addition, regular physical activity in total improves people's quality of life.
By exercising the muscles, glucose is directed from the blood vessels into the muscle cells, therefore positively influencing the metabolic activity. Regular exercise is therefore recommended. However, you should never suddenly start exercising without first getting a physical examination. The exercise intensity and duration should slowly and steadily be increased.
Select a form of exercise that you enjoy, is fun, and that you will therefore want to stick with. Even regular walks will have a positive impact on the glucose metabolism. Especially those forms of exercise that train the cardiovascular system and the lungs are recommended. Regular jogging and/or walking are suitable for this. Also recommended are swimming, team sports, skiing, mountain hiking, biking, rowing or gymnastics. Competitive sports are also possible, provided that these are performed under supervision and with a personalized training schedule. Strength exercises, such as weight lifting and body-building, are less suitable. Always have some glucose with you, since exercise usually reduces blood sugar levels and you do not want to become hypoglycaemic.
It is best to consult your doctor to determine which physical activity and/or exercise type, and which intensity is right for you. Note the impact of exercise on the blood glucose. Before exercising, ensure sufficient additional carbohydrate intake – a reduction in the insulin dosage may be required. The objective is to avoid hypoglycaemia.
You should always inform your exercise partner about the diabetes and the correct steps to take during hypoglycaemia.