Exercising with Diabetes? This Is What You Need to Know
Being physically active when you have diabetes is very important as being inactive can make your symptoms even worse, while exercise can be considered a part of your treatment. Staying active and fit helps you control your disease as well as your blood sugar levels, which is extremely important for preventing severe long-term complications.
As muscles use glucose without insulin when you’re exercising, its levels in your blood decrease and cause you to be more insulin sensitive, or rather insulin more-effective. If you become physically active regularly, you will also experience numerous other benefits, such as better dealing with stress, better mood and higher energy levels, stronger muscles, better weight control and much more.
However, before you start working out on your own, you should first TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR and together come up with a reasonable and workable plan of exercising, according to your heart health, and taking into consideration any possible complications that may come because of your diabetes.
Your doctor should suggest a diabetes educator to help you if he is unable to tell you how you should do your workouts in accordance to your health and fitness level.
Moreover, if you haven’t exercised before, you need to be REALISTIC and start slow. Start with low intensity workouts and then later, as your strength and fitness improve, increase the intensity of your training. Don’t start with strenuous trainings until you’re ready for it or it could exhaust you and cause complications related to your condition.
DRINKING WATER is extremely important when training with diabetes. You should also check your blood sugar levels before and after a workout to see how exercising is affecting you and make sure you are keeping everything in control. In order to avoid sudden drops and raises of blood glucose during or after a workout, keep some SNACKS close to you but make sure they don’t have more than 15 grams of carbohydrates in total.
Remember that you can’t exercise as hard as some professional athletes do or as someone who is completely healthy. Go at your own pace and listen to your body. Over-exhausting yourself, especially if you haven’t recently been active at all, isn’t good for your motivation or for your health.
On the other hand, in the long run, going slow and letting your body adjust to the changes is very beneficial and will show better results than trying to get fit and slim as quickly as possible.
When exercising, of course with consent of your doctor, you should balance between the three kinds of workouts – aerobic, strength and flexibility.
Good examples of AEROBIC ACTIVITIES you could engage in are walking, jogging or running, swimming and biking. You could also start doing some sports with a ball, such as basketball, volleyball or tennis, but again – check with your specialist which sports are beneficial for you and how much can you push yourself.
Half an hour of these kinds of workouts at least five times per week would be ideal. It isn’t as difficult as it may sound – you can also count your evening walk with your friends as a workout, as long as you pick up the pace a little. Not taking the elevator to go to the fourth flour of your building is also a good way to stay active. Use your imagination and you’ll see that you just need to develop the habit, everything else will be a breeze. Remember to make your physical activities fun so that you don’t perceive exercising as an obligation. Having a workout pal is very helpful too.
STRENGTH TRAINING is something you should include in your routine after getting used to aerobic activities. These exercises are good because they help you build lean muscle and use your muscles more in general, which is a good way to control your blood glucose levels (because, again, muscles use glucose). You can join a gym and find an experienced fitness trainer who will show you how to properly use the equipment, and adapt the exercises to your abilities.
STRETCHING before and after working out is very important for your muscles and joints, and it reduces soreness after workouts.