Exercising is important in managing diabetes
Paired with proper medication and a nutrition plan, exercising is a beneficial way of controlling your blood glucose levels.
Exercising is an important way to manage your diabetes but there are some special considerations before you start. As with any new exercise program, you should discuss your exercise plan with your doctor. This is especially important for someone with diabetes. A change in your exercise program may require a change in your medication levels and nutrition plan.
Exercise is beneficial for people with diabetes for several reasons. According to Kate Lorig, RN, DrPh, and Halsted Holmen, MD in “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions,” mild to moderate exercise can decrease the need for insulin and help to control blood glucose levels both during and after exercise. Exercising helps a person lose or manage their weight and can also reduce the cardiovascular risks of high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
An exercise program should be tailored to a person’s individual health level. On average, a person should target 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity. Endurance activity helps to lower blood sugar levels. Endurance activities are any activities that increase your heart rate, create faster breathing and make you slightly warmer. When you are exercising you should be able to continue for at least 5 minutes without feeling fatigued, be able to talk, and feel completely recovered after 30 minutes of rest.
Before you start exercising, your diabetes should be under control. Coordination of your medications, diet and exercise is important to prevent hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. If you have problems with skin care and infections, you should check your skin regularly for blisters and abrasions. Shoe inserts can be used to protect the soles of your feet.
Gradually work into your routine. Allow three to five minutes of warm up before you exercise more vigorously. Start at a slow speed or with no resistance. Thirty minutes a day is a target for exercise. This target can be broken down into smaller five or ten minute intervals throughout the day. One should always listen to their body and slow down or stop if necessary.
Exercising is an important tool for managing your diabetes and blood glucose levels. Check with your doctor before you begin to review your medication and nutrition plan, and start toward a healthier you.