Diabetes and exercising
People that have diabetes are able to exercise, play sports, and live an active lifestyle just like those without diabetes.
In fact, exercising is a great way to manage blood sugar levels and lose weight, which is extremely important for those with type 2 diabetes. However, as my team created our diabetes guide, we saw several comments on different medical forums claiming that people with diabetes should avoid extreme physical activity. The comments we saw the most warned of the dangers of hypoglycemia as the reason why those with diabetes should take it easy when working out. While hypoglycemia may occur, the benefits of exercising outweigh the risks involved.
If your new year’s resolution is to get in shape and start exercising daily, you should share this information with your doctor. Not only will the doctor be happy to hear this, but he or she can help you determine what your blood sugar levels should be pre and post workout. It’s extremely important to check your blood sugar level before you exercise to make sure your blood sugar levels won’t drop to a dangerous level in the middle of your workout. If your blood sugar levels are not at the appropriate level, try having a snack and wait until they get to the normal range before beginning.
During your workout, it’s important to make sure that you are drinking plenty of fluids. While this is important for any person who works out, it’s even more important for people with diabetes since dehydration can affect blood sugar levels. It’s also important to take note of the temperature when you workout. Temperature can affect how your body absorbs insulin, which can make managing blood sugar levels more difficult. This is especially important for outdoor exercising, especially if you are running outdoors on a hot day. Take note that you sweat and lose more water running in the heat, so drink extra fluid to avoid dehydration.
After your workout, test your blood sugar levels to make sure that you are not experiencing a low that requires a snack or insulin. It’s important to have both readily available; it’s always better to be prepared than sorry. It also doesn’t hurts to wear a medical bracelet or have something that indicates that you have diabetes. It can sometimes be difficult to notice your blood sugar levels dropping, and it’s important that those around you know how to help in the case of hypoglycemia.
Lastly, I should note that vigorous exercise is not for everyone. Those that have medical problems related to diabetes, such as neuropathy or heart disease, should consult with their doctor before attempting any fitness program. Your safety should always be the number one priority! As stated earlier, the benefits of exercising outweigh the risks involved. For those with type 2 diabetes, exercising to aid weight loss can even help reduce, or eliminate, the need for insulin. If you are still not convinced that exercising with diabetes is safe, think of professional athletes that have had successful careers with diabetes. Famous athletes such as Jackie Robinson and Walt Frazier lead Hall of Fame careers while managing diabetes. Current athletes include Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears and Jerry Stackhouse, who won the NBA national championship with the Mavericks in 2011 while managing diabetes. Their profession requires extreme training and exercise, and they have done so successfully while living with diabetes.
Additional Source: familydoctor.org
About the author:
Adam Bruk is the Philanthropy and Outreach Coordinator at Socks4Life and has been honored to work with the DOC to help raise diabetes awareness. As part of their efforts, they are a proud corporate sponsor of the American Diabetes Association and have created this cool diabetes info graphic to help the DOC with their mission to spread the facts behind diabetes.
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