Exercise, as everyone knows, is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, but it can be tricky to get right when you are living with diabetes.
Living with diabetes doesn’t mean you should sacrifice a love of staying active and healthy. It is perfectly achievable to have diabetes and still go to the gym regularly and be proud of your progress and your body.
Exercising with diabetes just requires a few more precautions than usual.
1. Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels
You would normally monitor your blood sugar or glucose levels before and after eating meals, but it is also crucial to measure them when you exercise. You should measure your glucose levels before, during and after you exercise using continuous glucose monitoring to get an accurate level.
Exercise and activity can lower your blood sugar levels. It’s essential that you monitor yours to avoid them getting too low.
2. Do Aerobic Exercises
For those that are living with diabetes, they are more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases, especially those with Type 2 who generally have higher cholesterol and higher blood pressure. Aerobic exercises, also known as cardiovascular exercises, are great for improving heart health and fitness.
There are various types of aerobic exercises you can do, so you can take your pick of what you like from these and more:
Even walking is a fantastic form of aerobic exercise. Choosing to walk to and from work instead of driving can greatly improve your cardiovascular health.
3. Stay Hydrated
While exercising, you should make sure you have water available and that you drink it at regular intervals. Vigorous exercise can cause dehydration, and in turn, dehydration can lower blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar level is generally low, you should also have a snack before you start exercising to get them back up.
4. Talk to Your Doctor
Your doctor will know what is the best solution for you when it comes to exercise for your particular diabetes. Your doctor can help you to devise an exercise plan for you to stick to and that will consider your diabetes status.
It is recommended that most adults should do 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, but your doctor may advise you to act differently depending on your current health and activity.
5. Adjust Your Medicinal Plan
You should adjust your medicinal plan when you want to exercise. This means looking at when you take your insulin and what your dosage is. Your doctor will be able to advise you if and how you should make these changes, whether you should wait until after you have finished your workout or reduce your dosage of insulin before you exercise. This will depend on how vigorous your exercise routine is and your original dosage.
Exercising with diabetes is doable and is, in fact, integral to staying healthy even with the disease. It is vital that you don’t push your limits and that you consult your doctor should you make any huge changes to your routine or your insulin levels.
Freelance writer Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and a keen advocate for alternative medicine and holistic treatments. Additionally, she feels passionate about raising critical awareness of the strain on public health organizations.