This article originally appeared in the April-May 2017 issue of Generations Magazine.
Diabetes affects people in different ways, but those with type 2 diabetes frequently suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure and nervous system damage, including impaired sensation or pain in the hands and feet. Physical activity and keeping a healthy weight can help to manage the disease and prevent diabetic problems. Although walking may be the most convenient mode of exercise, those with weight issues, peripheral neuropathy or severe weakness or pain may find weight-bearing activities difficult. However, water provides a low-impact, safe environment ideal for type 2 diabetics.
The virtual weightlessness of being in water reduces stress on joints, bones and muscles. Water resistance provides the strength training needed to decrease blood sugar levels. Aquatic exercise burns calories more efficiently. A 30-minute walk on land burns 135 calories compared to 264 calories walking in water.
Benefits also include less soreness, increased circulation and improved balance and flexibility.
Don’t let diabetes drag you down. A safety-conscious aquatic-based therapy program can help keep you afloat by increasing energy, and improving physical and psychological well-being.