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Yoga for People with Diabetes - Everything You Need to Know!

Yoga for People with Diabetes - Everything You Need to Know!

  By: Editors at DiabetesIQ  |  Published: August 18, 2021   
Published: August 18, 2021   

Yoga for People with Diabetes - Everything You Need to Know!Yoga for People with Diabetes - Everything You Need to Know!
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In an effort to keep their diabetes under control and enhance their overall quality of life, a growing number of people with diabetes are turning to yoga. Regular yoga practice is widely known for its ability to decrease stress, increase mobility, lower blood pressure, and promote general health. Many health professionals feel that these advantages can help with diabetes control and guard against other medical issues, including heart disease.

What exactly is yoga?

Yoga is a set of mental, physical, and spiritual exercises that started over 5,000 years ago in ancient India. Yoga promotes relaxation, develops breath awareness, and provides a sense of inner calm by coordinating the breath, mind, and body.

It involves a variety of bodily positions and motions (also known as asanas) and breathing methods and meditation, all of which are intended to improve physical and mental well-being. There are numerous types of yoga, but Hatha Yoga is the most frequently taught in the West.


Benefits of yoga for patients with diabetes

Yoga and other mind-body therapies are seen to be a viable, cost-effective alternative in the treatment and prevention of diabetes, with results from numerous studies showing that they can reduce stress-related hyperglycemia and improve blood glucose control.

One of the most important aspects of diabetes therapy is stress management. Our blood sugar levels rise when we're stressed, and high blood sugar levels raise the risk of serious complications including heart disease.

Yoga and other mindfulness-based practices teach participants how to induce a relaxation response by using regulated breathing methods, meditation, and body positions.

This reaction aids in the regulation of cortisol and other stress chemicals, which raise blood pressure and glucose levels. Both are important in the progression of type 2 diabetes and its complications.

Yoga may also be used to cure diabetes or, in the case of type 2 diabetes, to prevent it from developing by doing the following:

  • Rejuvenating pancreatic cells — Yoga asanas stretch the pancreas, stimulating the creation of insulin-producing beta cells. 
  • Improving muscle activity - Yoga, like other types of exercise, improves glucose absorption by muscular cells. This helps to improve circulation, lower blood sugar, and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. 
  • Weight loss - Yoga can help you lose weight and improve your weight control, which are both important for preventing diseases including type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Improving your mental attitude - Practicing yoga on a regular basis will assist to focus the mind and develop the proper mental attitude for coping with diabetes.


Where do you begin?

If you're new to yoga, enrol in a beginner's class led by a certified yoga instructor. Free diabetic lessons may be available at your local hospital or medical facility.

Yoga may also be done at home with the help of DVDs or free internet lessons. The majority of yoga styles are risk-free. However, if you have any concerns, speak with your doctor. Some persons with diabetes should avoid fast-paced yoga, such as hot or Bikram yoga.


What yoga poses to try if you have diabetes?

Take your time transitioning into and out of postures. Sudden changes in your environment might cause your blood pressure to decrease and make you dizzy. You might attempt the following yoga poses:

  • Sun salutations
  • Frog pose and other seated poses
  • Various twisted poses such as seated spinal twists, for example.

Inverted positions, such as headstands, when your head is below your heart, should be avoided. This may cause injury by increasing the pressure on your eyes. Forward folds and other simple inversions can have the same effect.


How much yoga should you do if you have diabetes?

Although there are no particular time requirements for doing yoga when you have diabetes, you should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Moderate-intensity exercise means that you should breathe harder than normal while yet being able to communicate. It's important to keep in mind that any form of physical exercise is beneficial for your health, so if you can only do very light yoga, it's still better than nothing. If you have diabetes, you should also consider when to integrate your yoga routine into your day, mostly to avoid blood sugar highs and lows.

Pull back if you experience any pain or discomfort during your yoga routine. Yoga instructors frequently advise against eating before a class. However, to avoid low blood sugar, have a small snack before your activity, especially if you're on insulin or other medication.

Despite the fact that the advantages of yoga therapy have been proven in numerous studies, it is not medically authorized as a diabetes treatment. Consult your doctor and diabetes healthcare team before beginning any yoga sessions and stick to your regular diabetes treatment plan.

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