Are you tired of your medicines and constant check on your blood sugar levels?
You’re not alone.
I know how frustrating it is to be dependent on medicine for your whole life. I know how scary it is to put insulin in your body every day.
A slight fluctuation in the levels can cause life-threatening conditions. Modern medicines are saving lives but also making them slaves for the rest of their lives.
What if I tell you that diabetes is reversible?
Diabetes is a lifestyle disorder that can happen a) genetically b) when you have weak pancreas or insulin.
Though some claim that even type 1 is reversible, I am specifically talking about type 2 diabetes here.
The simplest understanding of diabetes is that your body produces glucose from the food you eat.
The pancreas releases insulin which creates channels in the cells for glucose to pass in. Glucose is then metabolised into energy inside the cells.
But sometimes, there is not enough insulin to send the required glucose to the cells. Sometimes, insulin is unable to attach to the cells.
This happens when either the insulin is weak or there is excess fat or tissue buildup around the cells.
When there is excess sugar in the blood, it gets stored in organs or puts a lot of pressure on the liver and kidneys.
Diabetes can happen because,
1. You are eating too much sugar
2. You are eating too much-processed food
3. You are eating too much
We are the first generation to experience the boons and banes of the internet. With the internet came the sedentary lifestyle.
Our ancestors worked in the fields or outdoors for 8-9 hours. Whatever they ate was consumed by the body to produce energy.
But now the work has become more mental than physical. Our diets have not changed but the way we spend our time has.
This imbalance is manifesting in several forms including diabetes. People with white-collar jobs are more susceptible to diabetes.
In this guide, we are telling you exactly the kind of exercises for diabetes that you should be doing to manage it.
It is a step by step guideline to a better lifestyle, diet and home remedies. This is the second post in the series and it is all about exercises for diabetes.
Exercises for diabetes
The number one solution to living a healthy life is indulging in more physical activities like walking, gardening, cooking etc. The more you sit, the more are the chances of a slow metabolism.
If you have to sit because of your job, make a habit of moving every hour. Keep a tab on the number of steps you are walking every day. Invest in a good quality pedometer or a fitness tracker like Fitbit or an iWatch for the same.
Yoga for diabetes
Yoga is the best physical activity for diabetes. It is the only workout that works on the internal organs with twists and bends and breath control. It reduces stress and calms your body.
This is essential for healing. It switches the parasympathetic nervous system on and helps your body come out of fight or flight mode. This reduces cortisol which is known to slow down metabolism.
Yoga is a perfect workout for your body because it involves functionalities of a cardio workout, strength and that of flexibility. It is a complete workout for your body and your mind.
Some people also consider it as moving meditation.
You can follow a particular type of sequence like in Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga or Vinyasa yoga or you can simply do the asanas that are especially helpful for diabetics.
These asanas work on activating the digestive system.
Physical Asana exercises for diabetes
1. sun salutations or Surya Namaskar
Surya namaskar or sun salutation is a series of asanas performed in a particular sequence. This is an invigorating sequence and can be done independently or along with other asanas. 5 reps of sun-salutations is a great start for your Yoga practice.
Follow this 10 steps sun salutation A routine to start your practice.
2. triangle pose or Trikonasana
Trikonasana or triangle pose is a great pose for activating your digestive system, opening your heart and strengthing your leg muscles.
3. extended side angle pose or Utthita Parsvakonasana
Utthita Parsavakonasa is the side angle stretch pose. It stretches the sides of the body reducing stored fat from these areas. It also strengthens the leg muscles.
4.standing forward bend or uttanasana
This is a standing forward bend position. The bend activates the digestive system and flushes out toxins.
5. seated twist or Marichyasana
This is a great twist for activating internal organs. The twists are known to relieve tension from the back and activate liver and spleen to speed up digestion and flushing out toxins.
Sitting in Vajrasana is a great asana for toning your leg muscles. Sitting in this pose after a meal is extremely beneficial for digestion.
7. frog pose or Mandukasana
Mandukasana or the Frog Pose is excellent for diabetes. It tones the organs. Mandukasana or Frog pose is a kneeling position with the fists placed on both sides of the naval.
Exhale deeply, suck your belly, press your abdomen with your fists and go down.
8. Upward facing dog
Upward facing dog or Adho Mukha Swanasana stretches the entire abdominal area. It flushes out stored toxins inside the colon.
9. Downward facing dog
Downward facing dog or Adho Mukha Swanasana works on the legs, calves, ankles, shoulder and belly. It involves most of your body and promotes proper blood circulation in the body.
10. Camel pose or Ustrasana
Camel pose or Ustrasana opens your heart and releases stored tensions and negative energies. It also stretches the abdominal region and leg muscles. This asana strengthens the core and your digestive system.
12. Boat pose or Navasana
Navasana is especially beneficial if you want to increase your core strength. It directly involves your core and pelvic muscles. It is a great pose for diabetes and should be performed at least thrice.
Breathing exercises for diabetes
Breathing exercises are the most significant exercises for diabetes. Every person who wants to treat their diabetes holistically, breathing exercises are your holy grail.
Breath is the life force in our body according to Ayurveda. It is very powerful and when done in the right way can allow our body to function optimally.
Breathing exercises or pranayama are advanced yogic practices. It has to be done in the right way to reap proper benefits.
When to do it?
The ideal time to do breathing exercises is in the morning. Make sure your bowels are clean. This makes it easy for your breath to flow through your body.
Secondly, you should have an empty stomach. There should be at least a 6-hour gap between your meals and your breathing exercises or pranayama practice.
The most important breathing exercises for diabetes are
alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhna
Alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhana is one of the most powerful breathing exercises or pranayama in Yoga.
This pranayama is done by inhaling from one nostril and exhaling from the other and vice versa. The use of alternate nostrils promotes using different channels of the body and the brain.
1. Sit in a cross-legged position or lotus or Vajrasana.
2. Place your left arm on the left knee. Touch your thumb with your first finger with your thumb to create jnana mudra.
3. Breathe with your left nostril and release while pressing the right nostril with your third finger. Release the right nostril and exhale. Now inhale with your right nostril while closing your left and exhale with your left.
4. Repeat the cycle 15-20 times.
bellows breath or Bhastrika
Bellows breath or Bhastrika is a powerful breathing exercise for your brain and body. It sends a lot of oxygen in your body and energises it.
In this breathing exercise, both inhalation and exhalation will be active. The rapid inhalations and exhalations break the cycle of the brain and force it to come out of the same pattern of thinking.
Inhale and exhale rapidly with a force. Repeat the movement for 40 cycles. If you feel dizzy after some cycles, stop and lie down in Savasana.
skull shining or Kapalbhati
Kapalbhati literally translates to skull shining and is a powerful breathing exercise that invigorates your mind and flushes excess toxins from the body. It is especially beneficial for people with excess Kapha.
In this Pranayam, inhalation is passive but the exhalation is active. Inhalation is for a very short span between rapid exhalations.
Do this exercise for 80 rounds.
Nauli kriya is a powerful abdominal work that cleanses the internal organs. The churning motion in the kriya massages the internal organs such as the stomach, liver, intestines and bladder.
It helps the body to increase gastric fire and eliminate toxins in the digestive tract.
1. Stand slightly bent with your hands on your thighs (right above the knees).
2. Inhale and exhale deeply. Now suck your stomach in and create a vacuum. Use your pelvic muscles to make clockwise and anticlockwise movements while holding your breath.
Other exercises for diabetes
Running is the second-best activity that increases your metabolism and flushes out excess toxins from the blood.
Leg movements are especially encouraged in diabetes as there is a risk of excess sugar settling in your limbs.
Running increases endorphins and that improves your mood. Often known as ‘runners high’ it has the ability to uplift your mood instantly.
Running uses a wide set of muscles and is a very good exercise to tone your body or lose excess fat.
It gets your heart pumping and increases blood circulation especially in the digestive area and feet. This activates the pancreas and also reduces excess fat from the body.
Another benefit of running is sweat. Sweat releases a lot of toxins and excess water from the body.
Pores on your skin release excess and unwanted sugar in your system. Sweat gives your skin a natural glow and keeps your skin hydrated.
It is important for diabetics as their skin tends to get dry and rough.
Walking uses a different set of muscles than in running and is beneficial to especially old people who have difficulty indulging in tough sports like running.
Walking 10000 steps daily is recommended to people for maintaining good health. But with a sedentary lifestyle, it has become difficult to do so.
By walking every day for 30 minutes to an hour, people with diabetes can have improved glucose levels. It helps muscles to absorb sugar from the blood for a few hours.
By walking you get better cardiovascular fitness and circulation to the toes. Regular walking also burns calories and helps in managing weight.
Diabetes is not difficult to manage and certainly not irreversible. With the right diet and exercises, you can do it too.
If you have reversed your diabetes naturally, share your success stories with us.
If you know how to reverse diabetes using a plant-based approach or have experienced it, share your stories here. Help our community learn from each other.
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Chakshu is a US alliance certified yoga teacher, a biotechnologist and an Ayurveda evangelist. Her passion is to help people live a toxic-free life, emotionally and chemically. She loves reading self-help books. When she is not writing, she is busy thinking about life.