Diabetes is one of the most concerning health epidemics of the modern age, with distressingly high numbers worldwide that continue to climb. In fact, the CDC reported in 2014 that 29.1 million people in the United States had some form of diabetes – an astonishing 9.3% of the population – and they expect that number to surpass 30% by 2050.
With so many Americans struggling with this condition, the health and science communities are on a constant search for medications, diets, and exercise routines that can help manage and treat diabetes. And while there is currently no known cure, many diabetics have found that their diabetes management is made all the easier with a regular yoga practice. But how does yoga help with diabetes?
Yoga Reduces Blood Sugar
Whether you have type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, managing your blood sugar levels is a very important part of managing your health. Regular yoga practice has proven to be effective in lowering blood sugar as well as blood pressure.
Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight
Though not every person living with diabetes is overweight, the overwhelming majority are: around 85%, according to a 2012 Harvard study. And for those individuals with type 2 diabetes, losing weight can be incredibly helpful in the effort to get diabetes under control. Yoga provides tremendous health benefits, including increased flexibility, increased core strength, and yes, weight loss.
A yoga practice is great for people struggling to get back in shape, as the low-impact movements provide an avenue for fitness without being too tough on the joints. In fact, yoga can be a wonderful reintroduction to a healthy, active lifestyle – and that’s exactly what many diabetics are looking for.
Yoga Helps Minimize Stress
Stress increases the secretion of glucagon in the body. What is glucagon, you ask? It is a hormone responsible for increasing blood glucose levels – the very levels that people with diabetes are fighting to keep stable day in and day out. But never fear: a yoga practice encourages the yogi to breathe deeply and meditate on the present moment, which can make releasing stress so much easier.
Using yoga for stress release can be especially important for people with diabetes. For many, depression or chronic stress can lead to greater health risks as they age. This is a harrowing thought for diabetics, who are already at a greater risk for a host of health problems from blindness to limb loss. However, with a regular yoga practice, people with diabetes have a greater chance to minimize their daily stress, which can help with their overall health a great deal.
As we mentioned before, diabetes has no knows cure at this time. But until there is a cure, those of us struggling with diabetes can live healthy, active lives that make managing diabetes easier. Begin your journey today with a little yoga!
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