Diabetes can be complemented with exercise to get several favorable health benefits including effective control of blood sugar and reduced risk of long term complications. However, diabetes coupled with exercising poses distinctive challenges also. So when are managing diabetes with an exercise (or combination of exercises), be careful to check with your health care provider for the most suited outcome. Besides gaining generously through exercising, you should also not put yourself at the risk of uncontrolled blood sugar as it can be a dangerous thing.
There are several exercises which can help effectively manage diabetes. But before getting started, know the guidelines which are usually recommended to diabetics who want to manage their conditions through exercising.
Guidelines for Exercising Through Diabetes
If you have not been exercising before, get your doctor’s consent (and advice) before starting a regimen. Your doctor can make you aware about several important aspects of exercising like the best type of exercise (which can suit you), potential effect of using medicines on blood glucose levels, etc. Exercise can bring many benefits to your health, but if you have diabetes, it becomes important to test the blood sugar before, during and after exercise.
If you’re on insulin or any medicine which may lead to low blood sugar (or hypoglycemia), you should test your blood sugar half an hour before exercising. Test again just before exercising. This will show a trend and determine the stability of your blood sugar level. The safety of exercising can be found out this way. When you have finished the exercise, check your blood sugar again. Repeat testing multiple times even after and during the next couple of hours.
Since exercising utilizes the reserve sugar, your body shall rebuild the re-serve after you are done with. This process takes away sugar from the blood and a more strenuous exercise can affect blood sugar later after doing the exercise. If you experience low blood sugar after exercise, eat a fruit or crackers, or something which provides carbohydrate.
Managing Diabetes with Exercise
It is recommended to have 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activities in a week’s time. Fast walking, bicycling and lap swimming are among the good activities which you can do. A water exercise program can also be considered.
Strength and Interval Training
Resistance training and work outs with elastic bands can improve your muscle strength. This form of strength training helps you to use glucose more efficiently. By doing strength training, you can increase your muscle mass so as to burn more glucose. You can lose weight through increased metabolism, improve cardiovascular health and strengthen muscles to prevent injuries.
You can also do interval training, which is a repeated mix of high-intensity aerobic activity and less intense work. An example is the pedal fast on a bike for 30 seconds, and then reducing the speed for 90 seconds. By doing this exercise, the muscles are challenged and promoted for burning more calories, boosting fitness, and improving insulin sensitivity.
A fresh study brought to light that in Hispanic men and women, about 4 months of strength training lead to remarkable improvements in sugar control. And those who volunteered for the study were found stronger and more confident. They also gained muscle and lost body fat.
Aerobic exercise can decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. It can also serve as a good tool for diabetics for managing their blood glucose levels. This exercise enhances rate of heart and can keep up your fitness. Besides providing health benefits, aerobic fitness also gives a boost to mood and can be fun time.
Other Exercising tips
Be slow when beginning to exercise; choose an exercise which can be enjoyed while doing. Talk to your doctor regarding reducing your dose of insulin (long and short-lasting). Depending on the time of exercise, this can be taken care of. Know the effects of different types of exercises you are planning to include in your regimen.
When you know how these can affect blood sugar, you can attune them in an appropriate way for avoiding unfavorable outcomes. Always keep a carbohydrate-based food with you when you exercise (even after doing it). Wear appropriate gear, especially comfortable shoes, when you exercise.
When you exercise, keep company of someone who knows you have diabetes so that he/she can help you if you have a low blood-sugar reaction. You can consider wearing an identification card that states you have diabetes.
Precautions and Preventions
There are some instances of potential health hazards which you should keep in mind. The foremost thing is to begin exercising only after consulting your doctor. Diabetes is a complex condition which, if left uncontrolled and uncared, can cause life-threatening situations. This is also significant for the fact that you may need to change your medication schedule when you exercise. You are exercising for improving your health and managing diabetes better, certainly not worsening any.
In order to reduce the risk of high blood glucose, adopt a regular routine of exercise and complement it with having meals and medicines at the same time on daily basis. Refrain from strenuous exercise as it can cause production of adrenaline (and other hormones) which are likely to interact with insulin for adverse outcome(s).
If you wish to include a strenuous exercise, first have a word of advice about the necessary changes required in insulin, medicine or calories intake. If your blood sugar shoots up, hold off on exercising. Consult your doctor and then proceed as per his/her advice. Discontinue an exercise if it causes pain to avoid unwanted stress on your joints.
Some forms of exercises can be dangerous for severe eye disease and nerve damage in diabetics. If you have any of these complications (of diabetes), talk to your doctor may. You may have to undergo a test to see how your heart responds to exercise. Stop exercising if your type 1 diabetes crosses the 250mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) mark and ketones are positive. Exercising should be a lifetime commitment but not meant to be done at the cost of health.