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We all know that exercise is necessary when trying to improve our overall health, but for diabetics, it’s a must. When building or maintaining a healthy metabolism, you must get your heart rate up and strengthen your muscles. So what kind of exercise should you do? Have you ever thought about trying yoga? These days just about everyone has heard of yoga and knows at least one person who swears by it. But just what is yoga and how can it help someone with diabetes?
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that has been around for thousands of years in India. There has been an upsurge of yoga in the west over the past decade, although what most Westerners consider as yoga is different from what they practice in the East. In India yoga is more a spiritual journey and is used as part of some religions. Here in the West practitioners are mostly interested in the physical benefits of yoga.
There are several different types of yoga to consider. Hatha Yoga focuses on postures, meditation, and techniques to bring about balance, flexibility, and calmness. It is the most popular in the West and has over 200 poses and variations. Other forms of yoga include Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, and Hot Yoga, which is practiced in a heated room to help detoxify the body.
What are the Benefits of Yoga?
Yoga has long been known to reduce stress and in doing so can lower blood pressure. High stress can increase a person’s blood sugar, so regular Yoga practice is said to help manage a patient’s physical and mental stress and in turn prevents blood sugar spikes. Some evidence shows that posture that aid in relaxation can stretch the pancreas and help stimulate beta cell production. Here are some other benefits to practicing yoga:
• Increases Flexibility
• Improves Range of Motion
• Strengthen and Tone Muscles
• Improves Endurance
• Increased Circulation
• Lowers Blood Pressure
• Improves Digestion and Elimination
• Increases Endorphin's in The Brain
• Increased Mental Acuity
• Manages Stress
• Promotes Relaxation
There are many benefits of yoga, but the bottom line is that yoga is exercise. Regular exercise will increase your metabolism and help you digest food more efficiently.
How Can Yoga Lower My Glucose Levels?
Several factors can increase or decrease a person’s glucose levels. Some patients report higher blood sugar when they are under stress. Yoga can reduce stress by calming the mind through meditation and breath work. Others may notice a poor mood or depression when their glucose levels increase. Regular yoga practice has been shown to improve patient’s mood and decrease feelings of depression.
Some physical ways yoga improves blood sugar is through improved digestion, increase metabolic rate, and weight loss. There are several postures designed to improve digestion, and some studios have classes specifically designed for this purpose. Regular practice can increase your metabolism, build healthy muscles and reduce your body mass index (BMI). For many people, a lower BMI and weight will reduce their blood sugar. Some people (type 2) will be able to reduce or eliminate their medication after losing excess weight.
Where Should I Start?
If you are interested in yoga but unsure where to start, you are not alone. There are many people out there that want to incorporate balance, strength and flexibility into their lives, but do not know where to begin. I suggest if you are brand new to yoga and have never taken a class before, you look at a studio near you that offers beginner classes. I know this may sound intimidating to many, but it is important to start with an experienced instructor. They can help guide you into the positions using proper form. No one will judge you or concern themselves with your level of experience because they are too busy trying to learn the moves and improve their health.
If you are not new to yoga, and you feel comfortable with the postures, you could try a streaming service like I do. I love YogaGlo.com because there are a ton of classes to choose from keep me interested. I get bored easily, and I like to have options. I also like that I can just roll out of bed and stream a class to any of my devices. These days there are a ton of streaming yoga and fitness classes. You just need to do a little research to decide which one you like the best. You will need to pay a monthly membership fee, but it is usually way less expensive than a traditional gym membership or studio classes.