October 8, 2015

Steps for Safe Exercise with Diabetes – Part 1

Authors on WebMD seem to always leave out important points when they write. The topic is safe exercising, yet they do not mention the blood glucose levels for safe exercising. This author did advise patients with diabetes to talk to their doctor and receive an okay before starting an exercise program. Make sure your doctor reviews your diabetes drugs also.

You may have heard exercise helps you burn extra glucose in your body and that it can make your body more sensitive to insulin, which is a good thing. It’s true! Exercise can also bust stress and boost your mood and overall health. Here’s how to get moving, ideally 30 minutes a day. Many people do not start out gradually and overdo exercise at the beginning. Unless you have been a person that has exercised on a regular basis, always start out slowly to not injure yourself.

Exercise Safely:
  • Generally, the blood glucose guidelines for exercising for all types of diabetes are 100 to 250 mg/dl (5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L). For most people, this is a safe pre-exercise blood glucose range. See my blog here.
  • Carry at least 15 grams (or more) of a fast-acting carbohydrate in case of low blood glucose. It might be a half-cup of fruit juice, five hard candies, or glucose tablets, or gels that equal 15 grams.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes that are for the activity you’re doing, and choose athletic polyester socks. They dry quicker and cause less friction than all-cotton socks. This is good advice unless you are swimming.
  • Inspect your feet before and after exercise. Check for blisters or sores.
  • Drink plenty of fluid before, during, and after exercise.
  • Wear a medical ID bracelet or a medical ID on a necklace, or carry a medical ID in your pocket.
  • Check your blood glucose level before and after exercise to make sure it’s in your target range. Your doctor can tell you what it should be before you start exercising or use the guideline above. This is very important if you take insulin. After an intense workout or exercising for a long time, you may want to eat something with at least 5 grams of carbohydrates within 2 hours. This will help you avoid low blood glucose.
  • If you become shaky, anxious, or more sweaty than usual, or feel a change in your heartbeat, stop exercising right away and check your blood glucose. If it is low, follow your doctor’s advice about how to treat it.
  • Always warm up for 5 to 10 minutes at the start of your workout. For instance, walk or bike slowly. Do 5 to 10 minutes of cool-down and gentle stretching at the end.

Continued in the next blog.

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