Diabetes and Exercise

Exercise can indeed help you control your diabetes.  By controlling your weight you also control your blood sugar levels.  People with diabetes are also more susceptible to heart disease and by exercising and controlling
your nutrition you therefore lower your risk of heart disease.

While there are risks associated with exercise for people with diabetes the benefits far out way the risks.  Exercise will change the way your body reacts to insulin.  Regular exercise will make your body more sensitive to insulin and your blood sugar level may get too low causing hypoglycemia after exercise. 

It is a good idea to check your glucose levels before, during and after exercising.  Consult with your doctor about what your levels should be.  Also beware of temperature changes when you exercise.  The temperature change itself can also effect how your body absorbs insulin.  When exercising pay attention to how you are feeling throughout your exercise program.  If you experience any of the following symptoms during or after exercise follow your doctor’s guidelines about how to treat hypoglycemia.  Your doctor will probably recommend you keep something sweet on hand:

  • Change in heartbeat.
  • Shaky
  • Anxious
  • Sweating suddenly and profusely
  • Hunger
  • Light headed

Some people have problems with the nerves in their feet and legs.  If you are one of these people, ensure you wear comfortable footwear and choose an aerobic exercise such as rowing, swimming, seated exercise or biking.  Also ensure before commencing exercise you:

  • Consult your Doctor first
  • Warm-Up
  • Cool down slowly
  • Notify your Trainer/Instructor of your condition
  • Gently stretching
  • Start slow and gradually increase the intensity and length of your workout
  • Check blood sugar levels regularly
  • Drink plenty of water before and after exercise
  • Have a snack handy should your blood sugar level drop too low
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