Diabetics–Exercise is for You Too!

Most of the recommendations from diabetic educators tend to focus on the dietary aspect of controlling blood sugar. While this is extremely important, don’t forget the effect of physical activity on controlling diabetes.

You need to take certain precautions.  But by remembering a few key points, exercise will become a key tool in managing your disease. Just remember the word “SWEETS” for guidance on diet and exercise. 

Sugar – If you’re just beginning an exercise program, check your blood sugar before exercise. If it’s too high (greater than 250 mg/dl) or too low (less than 100 mg/dl), you may need to make adjustments in your medication or food before starting an activity program.

Water – Diabetics tend to get dehydrated more than others when their sugar is elevated, so it’s important to drink water before, during and after a workout to help avoid dehydration. 

Eat – Appropriate nutrition is a must for active diabetics. With the help of a nutritional specialist you can develop an appropriate personalized eating regimen. 

Experiment – Different forms of exercise will have different effects on your blood sugar. Try various forms of activity (walking, golfing, swimming, strength training). After exercising, check your blood sugar levels to see which form is better for you. A general rule is to avoid anything that is too intense. Of course, that varies with the individual. Your doctor and a fitness trainer can help you decide on a safe and effective regimen.

Time of day ––  Our bodies love routine. Diabetics, in particular, need to have a routine to help regulate blood sugar. Exercising at the same time each day helps to establish a more consistent response, kind of like taking medicine at the same time every day. 

Safety first —  While exercise is extremely important for diabetics, it is not without risks. Significant shifts in glucose can occur, especially when starting a program, or changing an existing one. Start out with a partner who has an idea of what to do in case you have a problem during activity or, at least, let  someone know when and where you’re exercising. It’s a good idea to wear a medical alert bracelet while exercising especially if you exercise alone. 

Exercise can be a wonderful tool for improving both blood sugar levels and quality of life. 

For additional information click: http://www.diabetes.org 

Remember: “Treat your body like a temple, not like an amusement park.”—Patti LaBelle 

Health and happiness, Kriss

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