An active lifestyle and healthy eating habits are critical for managing diabetes. A new exercise routine will take some adjustment. But the long-term benefits are invaluable. In fact, this is the number one way to gain control of your disease. Medicine is important, of course. However, exercise can actually lower required insulin intake in many cases.
Furthermore, improved circulations and better digestion will reduce other risk of other diabetic related issues. A consistent routine is one of the best ways to maintain good health. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, lifestyle changes are in order – and exercise is included.
Why is exercise important?
- Healthy weight is critical for diabetes patients. Exercise burns calories to reduce unwanted pounds.
- Effectively managing your glucose and helping your body respond better to insulin is possible through regular exercise. It can even reduce medication needed for treatment – in some cases it can eliminate the need for medication.
- Exercise improves circulation in your arms and legs. These are common problem areas for people with diabetes.
- It reduces cholesterol levels that cause high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke and heart attack.
- An active lifestyle reduces stress that raises blood sugar levels. Exercise helps reduce stress that can raise your glucose level.
Where should I start?
Before starting an exercise routine, consult your health care professional for best practices. Your doctor will provide beneficial exercise tips and monitor your progress to avoid other complications before they begin.
Here are a few tips:
- Good foot care is imperative. Wear properly fitting shoes that offer support, always wear socks, and use shoes intended for your exercise activity.
- Start slowly with low-impact exercises such as walking or swimming. Build up exercise periods gradually each day.
- Wear a diabetes ID tag to ensure proper treatment in case there is a medical issue during exercise.
- Stretch before and after each workout to avoid muscle injury.
- Stick to a regular routine if possible. Try to exercise at the same time and for the same duration to create consistent glucose levels.
- Exercise at least three times per week.
Eating and exercise
High-carbohydrate, protein rich snacks such as cottage cheese or fruit an hour before exercise is a good idea. Heavier exercise will require a more substantial snack such as milk or peanut butter.
Check your blood sugar before and after exercise. If your glucose levels are low, you’ll need a snack. Carrying a snack with you is good practice in case glucose levels drop during exercise. Ask your doctor if it’s better to exercise before or after meals with your medication. You should feel a rise or drop in your glucose level. If so, tend to it as per your doctors instruction immediately.