Arthritis: Barrier to exercise for diabetics

The CDC analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from 2005 and 2007 and found that the prevalence of arthritis in diabetics was 52% and that the prevalence of inactivity was higher in diabetics with arthritis as compared to diabetics without arthritis. This information suggests that arthritis may be an additional barrier to physical activity in diabetics. Diabetics face the same barriers that most adults face when it comes to increasing physical activity: a lack of time and motivation, other responsibilities and difficulty finding physical activities they enjoy. But, for those with arthritis, there are additional barriers which include concern about causing joint damage, aggravating arthritis pain and finding activities which are safe for their joints. The American Diabetes Association states that increasing physical activity in those with diabetes is important to help reduce blood glucose, reduce risk for obesity and hypertension and improve risk of cardiovascular disease. 
Physical activity also helps prevent and treat depression by releasing endorphins. Endorphins help to elevate mood and reduce pain. Inactive diabetics who become more active benefit from improved physical function and improved glucose control. There is a physical and mental benefit for diabetics who increase their physical activity.

Safe exercises for those with arthritis include low impact activities:

  1. Water exercises/ aqua-aerobics
  2. Swimming
  3. Recumbent bicycle/cycling on flat surfaces
  4. Walking on a flat level surface
  5. Pilates

Exercises which can aggravate arthritis include impact activities like running or jogging, side to side activities like tennis or soccer and walking on uneven terrain (ie: trails with uneven surfaces, rocks and roots). But, each activity should be tailored to each unique individual and their particular type of arthritis. Discussing the types of activities with your doctor may help. It’s important to remember that the best thing for your joints, even those joints with arthritis, is to keep them moving.


2 Responses to “Arthritis: Barrier to exercise for diabetics”

  1. on 21 Dec 2008 at 4:06 am Kai

    Excellent site. Good work.

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