Diabetes and Exercise

Diabetes and exercise are fully compatible although you should consult a medical expert before you embark on a new program of exercise. Whether you have diabetes or not, regular exercise is one of the keys to improved health and well-being. It can increase your energy level and help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Exercise also helps to clear glucose from the blood, if insulin is available, so it fits nicely into a diabetes care program. When you have diabetes, a program of exercise offers many benefits. However, there are also a number of challenges including avoiding high and low blood sugar levels during exercise so it is very important to get guidance on how to exercise safely before you embark on an exercise plan.

Before embarking on an exercise plan, you should consult your physician or a diabetes educator and /or an exercise physiologist before starting. If you are a type 1 diabetic, you may need to adjust your insulin and your carbohydrate intake before, during, and after exercise. You will also need to monitor your glucose levels closely. More frequent glucose blood test may become the norm. If you are a type 2 diabetic, you may also need to cut back on insulin or oral medications that can cause low blood sugar.

Diabetes and exercise can be competely compatible. If you take insulin and you are able to maintain a consistent exercise conditioning program, there is an added benefit: your sensitivity to insulin is increased. This means that a given amount of exercise will lower your blood sugar more and a unit of insulin will be more effective. Here, a conditioning program is defined as a regimen in which your reach your peak of physical functioning three times a week for at least twenty minutes. However, you don’t have to exercise strenuously to gain benefits from physical activity. Even a quiet walk or work in the garden can have a significant effect on blood sugar.

I feel very strongly that exercise is one of the best weapons that I have to fight diabetes. I try to remain very present to the need to exercise on a consistent basis. Also, as a city dweller, if I have the option to walk or drive to my destination, I choose to walk as a way to burn up a few extra calories. I also try to challenge myself to tough goals with my exercise program because I know that the rewards will greatly exceed the effort. One of my proudest accomplishments in life was training for and completing in a marathon. Before I became a type 1 diabetic, one of my goals in life was to complete a marathon. I never felt that my diabetes got in the way of me accomplishing this goal. Instead, diabetes became my primary motivation for running the marathon.

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