Most people know that being overweight or obese can increase their risk of developing diabetes — but did you know that excess weight can also lead to or exacerbate diabetic neuropathy?
If that’s the case, though, can neuropathy be reversed with weight loss?
Read on to learn how losing weight can help diabetic neuropathy and neuropathic symptoms. We’ll dive into the role that weight plays in neuropathy, discuss exercises for neuropathy and some of the best things you can do to manage this common diabetes complication.
Why weight matters: weight and neuropathy
Being overweight or obese is one of the main risk factors associated with developing diabetes. As a result, excess weight can also make you more likely to develop complications from diabetes — including diabetic neuropathy.
Some studies have shown that obesity alone may cause neuropathy, especially if the excess weight is located around the waist. So, while diabetes is the largest indicator of neuropathy, obesity is an equally important risk factor.
And that’s just developing neuropathy — it’s important to note that weight can make neuropathy worse, too. Being overweight can:
- Increase your sensory threshold
- Lead to inflammation
- Harm your metabolic processes
- Put pressure on your nerves
- Increase insulin resistance
- Raise your blood pressure
- And more
All of these factors can exacerbate neuropathy over time and contribute to symptoms such as pain, muscle weakness, loss of balance, poor coordination, and numbness.
Does weight loss help neuropathy? Here are the facts
Weight loss is one of the best ways to prevent and manage neuropathy. Losing excess weight can help improve many of the risk factors associated with neuropathy, including stabilizing blood glucose levels, managing cholesterol, and boosting overall metabolic health.
Weight loss can not only help prevent neuropathy, but it can also help you manage symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight can improve your insulin resistance, lower your blood pressure, keep your blood sugar levels under control, and relieve pressure on your nerves.
5 exercises for neuropathy
One of the best ways to achieve and keep a healthy weight is to commit to daily exercise. The CDC recommends that people with diabetes aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intense exercise a week or about 25 minutes a day.
Walking is one of the best exercises for neuropathy in the feet. It is the simplest and most effective exercise to manage weight and combat painful neuropathy symptoms. It’s a great way to get your exercise routine started, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve been active. Any walking is beneficial for your health, but if you’re looking to lose weight, consider:
- Walking at a brisk pace/power walking
- Wearing a weighted vest or carrying weights
- Walking on an incline
- Participating in resistance exercises (e.g., squats, lunges, etc.) during your walk
- Aiming for multiple walks a day
- Counting your steps
2. Resistance training
Cardio is great, but you should also get some strength or resistance training at least a few times a week. Resistance training is a great exercise for nerve damage in leg, it helps with movement, and increases muscle mass, which can, in turn, increase the calories you burn even when you aren’t exercising.
3. Yoga or tai chi
While doing yoga or tai chi might not work toward weight loss in the same way that a run does, it can still help. Whether you do it by yourself, with a friend, or with a group, yoga or tai chi can help you manage stress, increase your muscle mass, and tone your body.
4. Stationary or traditional cycling
Biking is a great way to help lose or maintain weight. It’s easy, efficient, requires minimal materials, and can be done almost anywhere, anytime. As a bonus, biking also offers benefits such as better sleep, improved mood and productivity, and more.
Swimming laps, interval swimming, or resistance swimming — all can help you increase your muscle mass, heart rate, and caloric burn. In other words, it’s great for weight loss. Even better? Swimming is naturally both a cardio and a strength workout, which means you can enjoy the best of both worlds!
Protect your feet with Viasox
If you’re increasing your exercise to try and get your weight under control, it’s important to consider how all that extra movement is going to affect your feet. After all, diabetic patients are already prone to many different foot problems — you definitely don’t want to make injury more likely.
Our team at Viasox understands the importance of great socks to help protect your feet, whether you’re exercising or not. As a result, we’ve worked hard to design and develop North America’s first and finest fancy diabetic socks.
Our range offers benefits such as:
- Moisture-wicking technology
- Antibacterial properties
- Superior stretching abilities
- Premium protection
- Amazing comfort and style