Aerobic exercise in general has been associated with improved cardiorespiratory function, controlled glucose levels, and efficient weight management. Swimming is no exception, but what is particularly beneficial about this activity as opposed to other forms of aerobic exercise is that it is both low impact and yet still a full body workout. All human beings benefit from some form of physical activity, but this holds especially true for those with diabetes.
As mentioned before, aerobic exercise controls glucose levels, which are particularly important for individuals who require intensive management of their blood-sugar levels. Those who suffer with diabetes are also more likely to have or develop nerve damage, which can make many forms of physical activity difficult to do. Swimming is beneficial in this regard as well because it stretches and relaxes one’s body rather than putting stress on the joints. This also means it serves as a form of exercise that is well suited for any individual, regardless of their age or physical condition. As with other forms of aerobic activity, swimming can play a crucial role in controlling ones blood pressure and cholesterol levels, both of these being very important for those with diabetes to monitor in addition to their sugar levels.
Swimming not only helps those already diagnosed with diabetes, but also prevents it from occurring in the first place. It is well known that general inactivity is a primary cause for type II diabetes, and aerobic exercise can play a crucial role in ensuring that one maintains a healthy, active lifestyle. Swimming provides tremendous mental benefits, and it has been shown that when combating illness or disease a positive attitude can work wonders in alleviating symptoms. The endorphins our bodies releases during rigorous exercises function as natural pain and stress relievers. These incredible neurochemicals work similar to drugs such as morphine, but do not run the risk of addiction or other negative side effects. Taking this into consideration, those with diabetes would be wise in not only remembering the physical benefits of aerobic exercise, but the mental ones as well. It has been shown that depression has a higher chance of occurrence in individuals that have diabetes, and regular physical activity can function as a way to combat or prevent its occurrence.
Swimming is an affordable form of exercise that can be performed in a multitude of places. For those of us not fortunate enough to have a pool in our backyard; recreational centers, gyms, schools, and various other locations often have areas to swim for reasonable prices. Swimming can also serve a social purpose in this manner if one decides to sign up for group lessons at one of these areas. Exercising with others motivates us not only to push ourselves, but also exposures us to human interaction that is crucial for one’s mental wellbeing.
Those with diabetes should keep a few things in mind before they commit themselves to any form of aerobic exercise. To begin, it is always important to consult one’s doctor before engaging in a new physical activity. In particular with swimming, those with diabetes should consider exercising in a supervised pool in case of an emergency. Making the lifeguard aware of their condition beforehand is highly advised. Also, individuals with diabetes should consider carrying snack with them at all times in case their sugar levels begin dropping too low.
Other recommendations include:
- Never swim alone. In the case of hypoglycemia or fatigue help may be needed.
- Wear a bracelet or some form of identification stating that you have diabetes.
- If you’re using insulin pump, you should consult your doctor before starting a swimming program.
- Monitor your blood sugar level before and after exercise.
- Do not walk barefoot around the pool. Avoid injuries and examine your feet once you finish swimming.
- Take a shower immediately after swimming. Your skin is more sensitive to chemicals used to maintain the pool water. After bathing, use a good moisturizer all over your body.
- Do not swim if you have an open wound.
As you can see, swimming is an excellent choice to consider when searching for ways to become more active.