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Yoga for Diabetes

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Diabetes is a severe and common health condition. Yoga can do much more than just relax the body and mind. It plays a vital role in treating diabetics.

Written by

Dr. Dheeksha. R

Medically reviewed by

Shakti Mishra

Published At May 12, 2023
Reviewed AtMarch 22, 2024

Introduction

The primary purpose of yoga is to maintain better physical and mental health. Yoga helps with alleviating various chronic pain, chronic disease, and stress. It plays a significant role in treating diabetes, primarily type 2 diabetes. The blood sugar level can be controlled when yoga is adequately practiced for an extended period. Regular yoga can reduce the risk and complications associated with diabetes.

How Does Yoga Help to Stay Active?

Physical activities are vital for staying healthy. Yoga can be an alternative option for exercise in case of diabetes. Yoga helps synchronize body movements with breathing techniques in diabetic individuals. It makes the nerve facilitate chemical transformation with the cell and enhances the internal organ to balance the blood sugar level.

What Is the Therapeutic Role of Yoga in Diabetes?

Three factors increase the risk of diabetes are

  • Unhealthy diet.

  • Lack of physical activity.

  • Mental stress.

These factors have a massive impact on diabetes, possibly leading to coronary heart disease. A high-fiber, balanced diet and physical exercise will help control diabetes. Yoga makes a person physically active, reduces mental stress and emotions, and helps balance the body.

What Are the Benefits of Yoga for Diabetes?

People with diabetes are at high risk of other health complications. Therefore, it is advisable to keep blood sugar levels in control. Besides medication and insulin, yoga can play a huge role in reducing and controlling blood sugar levels. In addition, yoga keeps a person physically active, reduces stress, prevents coronary heart disease, and helps to improve overall health.

Yoga helps to enhance physical and mental health by

Reducing the Stress Level - Yoga causes a drastic change in the reduction of mental stress. An increased stress level causes an imbalance in blood sugar levels, which increases the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and resistance to insulin therapy.

Protecting the Heart - The long-term practice of yoga helps reduce changes in the blood vessels and control heart disease. For example, yoga helps to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and body mass index, which are all responsible for coronary heart disease. So, practicing yoga in the long term reduces the risk of heart disease.

Protecting the Chance of Diabetic Neuropathy - Neuropathy is damage caused to one or more nerves. It is a significant risk factor for diabetes, as it is characterized by a tingling effect in the hands and feet and may result in the altered functioning of the internal organs. Practicing yoga regularly for a long time boosts metabolism, glucose, and hormonal level, improving the nervous system overall. So regular yoga practice helps to reduce the risk of neuropathy.

Enhancing Strength and Balance - Yoga improves the body's strength, balance, and flexibility. In addition, specific postures reduce liver fat, reducing blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and obesity.

What Are the Postures That Help Control Diabetes?

The best yoga postures or asanas for diabetics are:

  • Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) - This pose is ideal for diabetic patients as it strengthens and regulates the pancreas. In addition, it helps strengthen the abdominal muscle, enhances digestion, and prevents stomach cramps.

  • Balasana (Child Pose) - This yoga posture includes hamstrings, rotator muscles, and spinal extensors, which help reduce stress, fatigue, and back and neck pain. In addition, it enhances the production of insulin-producing beta cells.

  • Bhujangasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose) - It strengthens the muscles by working on spinal extensors, triceps branches, and quadriceps muscles.

  • Shavasana (Corpse Pose) - Shavasana is a resting pose that helps relax the body and calm the mind. It helps the body enter a meditative phase and enables the mind to process and get the benefits of yoga to the body.

  • Viparita Karani (Legs up the Wall) - Legs up the wall is a pose that helps reduce blood sugar levels drastically, as it acts on the pancreas. Besides this, this pose helps to relax the body and improves energy. So, it helps in controlling and reducing blood sugar levels.

  • Tadasana (Mountain Pose) - This simple pose has more excellent effects with proper technique, which improves concentration, knee strength, and spine flexibility. Furthermore, this pose helps create more body space, which makes other internal organs perform efficiently. In addition, it increases blood circulation and promotes insulin sensitivity to control the blood sugar level.

  • Mandukasana (Frog Pose) - People with migraine, backaches, ankle injuries, hypertension, or insomnia should not perform the frog pose. It helps stretch the pancreas and increase the release of insulin. It also improves the digestion process.

  • Chakrasana (Wheel Pose) - Chakrasana helps to stretch and relax the spine. It reduces stress and calms down the mind. This yoga posture improves kidney and liver health, which are high complications of diabetes. It also improves the functioning of the pancreas and helps reduce the blood sugar level.

  • Halasana (Plow Pose) - People with a sedentary lifestyle should follow this posture. It helps prevent the adverse effects of diabetes. In addition, this helps reduce belly fat by acting on the abdominal muscles and promotes insulin secretion.

  • Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fish Pose) - Ardha matsyendrasana is a retreat for the liver and pancreas as it massages the internal organs. It involves a half-spine twist that helps increase energy levels and insulin production.

  • Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) - The seated forward bend posture tones the abdominal and pelvic organs and reduces the excess fat from the body. As a result, it lowers blood pressure, anxiety, fatigue, and headache. In addition, it helps to reduce depression and stress.

  • Supta Baddha Konasana (Recycling Bound Angle Pose) - It calms the nervous system and lowers stress. It stimulates the kidney, abdominal organ, and heart. It controls blood sugar and blood pressure level.

  • Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulder Stand) - It calms the brain, reduces stress, and improves blood circulation. It acts on the thyroid and abdominal glands.

  • Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog) - It is a solid back-bending pose that requires more muscle strength. This asana helps to stimulate abdominal organs and reduce fatigue, depression, sciatica, and obesity. In addition, it maintains blood pressure and boosts circulation.

  • Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist) - A healthy twist, this asana is done lying on the back. It helps regulate blood flow to the digestive system and stimulates the abdominal organs. In addition, it helps with stiffness and pain by massaging the spine, hip, and back.

What Precautions Should Individuals With Diabetes Take for Yoga Asanas?

Yoga is to be performed with the help of a professional instructor and guidance. Certain precautions to be taken are:

  • Should practice yoga under professional guidance.

  • Beginners should avoid rigid yoga postures.

  • Diabetic people should be careful of injury or discomfort after every physical activity.

  • Vigorous exercises in hot climatic conditions are not recommended for people with diabetes.

  • Any symptoms of pain or discomfort are to be taken into consideration.

  • Only perform yoga when it is comfortable.

  • Should perform yoga on an empty stomach, but diabetic patients can take light snacks to avoid hypoglycemia.

  • Any discomfort or dizziness is to be taken care of by the person.

Conclusion

Diabetes is a widespread health condition that should be important. Besides medicine and insulin therapy, physical activity plays a significant role in controlling blood sugar levels. Physical activities such as yoga and asanas help in reducing blood sugar levels and stress. It increases the production of insulin and improves the functioning of the pancreas. In the long term, yoga can control blood sugar levels and reduce stress and depression, dramatically impacting diabetes. So yoga acts as the best physical activity for the physical and mental health of a person with diabetes.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Which Is the Best Exercise for Diabetes?

The most effective exercise for managing diabetes combines aerobic and strength-training exercises. A variety of aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking, running, cycling, and swimming, help improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels and enhance cardiovascular health. Strength-training exercises, including weight lifting and resistance exercises, can increase muscle mass, further aiding glucose metabolism.

2.

Is Climbing Stairs Beneficial for Diabetes?

Climbing stairs can be a good exercise for managing diabetes. It is a form of aerobic activity that helps improve cardiovascular health and can effectively lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. Stair climbing engages large muscle groups, making it an efficient way to burn calories and enhance glucose metabolism. However, individuals with diabetes need to consult their doctor before starting any new exercise regimen.

3.

Is Surya Namaskar Beneficial for Diabetes?

Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, can benefit individuals with diabetes. This yoga sequence involves a series of postures and breathing techniques that provide a combination of stretching, strength training, and relaxation. Regular practice of Surya Namaskar can help improve overall fitness, enhance insulin sensitivity, and contribute to better blood sugar control.

4.

Can a Morning Walk Reduce Blood Sugar Levels?

A morning walk can effectively reduce blood sugar levels, especially for individuals with diabetes. Walking increases insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to use glucose more effectively. It can lower fasting blood sugar levels and improve overall glycemic control. A morning walk also has the added benefit of kickstarting daily metabolism and improving weight management, which is essential for diabetes management.

5.

How Many Steps Are Required to Control Diabetes?

Strive to reach a goal of 10,000 daily steps or engage in a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It is recommended that people walk for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon, and 10 minutes in the evening.

6.

Which Yoga Asana Is Most Effective for Managing Diabetes?

Dhanurasana, also known as the Bow Pose, is good for individuals with diabetes, as it helps fortify and balance the functioning of the pancreas. To perform this pose, lie on the stomach with feet slightly apart. Bend backward while lying and hold your ankles, pressing down your pelvis and lifting your chest and thighs.

7.

Does Kapalbhati Have a Positive Impact on Diabetes?

Kapalbhati, a breathing exercise in yoga, offers significant advantages for individuals with type 2 diabetes. The abdominal pressure generated through vigorous exhalations in Kapalbhati is believed to have a positive impact on the pancreas, encouraging the secretion of insulin and, thereby, aiding in the regulation of blood sugar levels.

8.

Which Yoga Asana Is Ideal for Combating Obesity?

One of the most effective yoga asanas for managing obesity is "Surya Namaskar," or the Sun Salutation. This dynamic series of postures and breathing exercises promotes weight loss by increasing metabolic rate, enhancing muscle tone, and improving flexibility. Regular practice of Surya Namaskar also aids in reducing excess body fat, making it a valuable component of a holistic approach to obesity management.

9.

What Are the Therapeutic Role of Yoga?

One of the most effective yoga asanas for managing obesity is Surya Namaskar, or the Sun Salutation. This dynamic series of postures and breathing exercises promotes weight loss by increasing metabolic rate, enhancing muscle tone, and improving flexibility. Regular practice of Surya Namaskar also aids in reducing excess body fat, making it a valuable component of a holistic approach to obesity management.

10.

What Are Therapeutic Activities for Managing Diabetes?

Therapeutic activities for managing diabetes encompass a holistic approach that includes regular exercise, a balanced and controlled diet, consistent blood sugar monitoring, medication adherence, stress management, weight control, routine medical check-ups, diabetes education, foot care, quality sleep, and overall self-care practices. This comprehensive strategy aims to regulate blood sugar levels, prevent complications, and promote physical and mental well-being in diabetic individuals.

11.

Is Yoga an Active Lifestyle Choice?

Yoga can be considered an active lifestyle choice. While it may not always involve high-intensity physical activity, yoga promotes flexibility, strength, and overall well-being through physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Regular yoga can help individuals improve physical fitness, reduce stress, enhance mental clarity, and cultivate mindfulness. It offers an active approach to maintaining and improving physical and mental health, making it a valuable component of an active and healthy lifestyle.

12.

How Does Yoga Contribute to Emotional and Mental Well-being?

Yoga significantly contributes to emotional and mental well-being by focusing on stress reduction, mindfulness, emotional balance, and enhanced self-awareness. By combining physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation, yoga cultivates a sense of calm, reduces stress, and promotes emotional stability. It encourages individuals to be present, fostering self-awareness and empowering better emotional regulation.

13.

Are the Holistic Benefits of Yoga for Physical and Mental Health Worth Examining?

Certainly, the holistic benefits of yoga for physical and mental health are worth examining. Yoga's unique combination of physical postures, mindful breathing, and meditation can enhance overall well-being, reduce stress, improve flexibility, strengthen the body, and boost mental clarity. As an increasingly popular and evidence-supported practice, investigating the comprehensive advantages it offers for physical and mental health is relevant and valuable.

14.

How to Enhance Mental Health and Stress Reduction Through Yoga?

Enhancing mental health and reducing stress through yoga involves regular practice of yoga postures, controlled breathing exercises, and mindfulness techniques. The physical postures help release tension, improve flexibility, and stimulate the release of endorphins, promoting a sense of well-being. Controlled breathing techniques like pranayama can calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety.

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Shakti Mishra
Shakti Mishra

Nutritionist

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