If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s likely not news that exercise should be part of your life. But that doesn’t mean you have to limit your physical activity to biking, jogging, or calisthenics. Give yoga a try, for instance. This ancient practice has been found to help lower blood pressure, improve blood glucose (sugar) levels, and more.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t use the hormone insulin properly. When insulin is not doing its job, blood sugar levels build and can cause health problems, according to the American Diabetes Association. Lifestyle changes, including regular exercise, are an important part of diabetes management.
“Yoga should be part of an exercise plan that includes aerobic exercise as well as strength training,” says Lisa B. Nelson, MD, director of medical education for Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, co-author of Yoga & Diabetes: Your Guide to Safe and Effective Practice, and a family medicine doctor in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. “Yoga is particularly good for stress reduction. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can raise blood sugar levels.”