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Diabetes and Exercise

Posted on December 14, 2022 | No Comments on Diabetes and Exercise

An important part of maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle, with or without diabetes, is having a regular exercise regimen. Other workouts are more strenuous than some and all vary with what the individual is comfortable doing, and ultimately, what results they’re looking for.

While you may already be going about with your daily exercise activities, here are some tips to consider implementing or help you identify areas for improvement.

Consult your doctor or health care provider before beginning an exercise plan. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself unnecessarily.

Test blood glucose levels before and after exercise. Once you’re given the go signal, make sure you know and are able to maintain your target levels throughout the time you’re exercising.

Start slowly and increase activity gradually. Approval from your doctor doesn’t mean that you should start dead-lifting your weight in dumbbells. Refrain from overstraining yourself and only do what feels comfortable to you.

Choose an activity you enjoy. Try a water exercise program, walking, riding a stationary bicycle, swimming or muscle stretching. Doing what you enjoy will mean you’ll stick to it in the long run.

Make exercise a lifetime commitment. Make it a part of your New Year’s resolutions. And since you’re enjoying the workout you’ve chosen, think of continuing it in the long-term. Exercising once a month does you no good.

Wear good shoes and take care of your feet. Diabetic neuropathy complications may develop if you don’t remain aware of the condition your feet are in.

Eat and drink accordingly. Bring a carbohydrate-based food along if you are taking insulin or an oral glucose-lowering medication. These will help you maintain those target levels while your body is experiencing the beneficial effects of working out.

Bring a friend. Exercise with someone who knows you have diabetes and knows what to do if you have a low blood glucose reaction. Just like someone on the bench press needs a spotter, it is important to have someone aware of your condition informed, and better yet, along with you as you go about your exercise regimen. Remember that it is better to be prepared for worst case scenarios.

Get dehydrated. Drink water before, during and after exercise. This not only applies to diabetics but to anyone going through exercises that cause a great deal of sweating.

Risk hypoglycemia. Follow a regular exercise, food and medication routine each day. Don’t push yourself to stick to your exercise regimen if you’ve missed a meal or scheduled medication. It’s better to be aware of your internal state rather than forcing the physical aspect.

Overexert yourself. Participate in prolonged or strenuous exercise without first consulting your physician. During strenuous exercise the body produces adrenaline and other hormones that can counteract the effects of insulin and cause blood glucose to rise. Again, it is important for you to have the approval of your doctor who knows the causes and effects of both the medication and the workout you hope to have.

Ignore pain. You may cause stress or damage to joints. The saying “no pain, no gain,” does not apply here. It is critical to listen to the signals your body is sending you. Stop the activity immediately and if pain persists, consult your doctor to be able to properly assess the situation.

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