Help keep your diabetes under control with physical activity.
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it’s time to get moving — if you aren’t doing so already.
For people with prediabetes or diabetes, exercise can play an important role in managing the disease.
November is National Diabetes Month. Being active can lead to many benefits, including:
- 1. Better glucose control
- 2. Fewer cardiovascular risk factors
- 3. May lower “bad” cholesterol levels
- 4. Weight management
- 5. Lower levels of stress and anxiety
- 6. Stronger bones
- 7. More flexibility
- 8. General health improvement
Getting started with exercise
Having a plan for exercise is important when you have diabetes. Ask your doctor about your safe range of blood sugar levels. Test your blood glucose before, during and after you exercise. Know how to treat it if it is too low or too high.
If your blood sugar is too low, you may feel weak, dizzy, irritable or shaky. Have a healthy snack on hand just in case. Your doctor may also recommend glucose tables, carbohydrates or other ways to manage low blood sugar. If your blood sugar is too high, your body may produce ketones, which can make you sick. Ask your doctor what to do if you develop this problem and whether you should be physically active if your blood sugar is high.
Check with your doctor before you start an exercise plan. Find out which exercises are safe for you. Some people with diabetes are better off with certain types of exercise than with others.
Start slowly. Work out for 5 to 10 minutes most days of the week and increase to 30 minutes. Gradually increase the time and intensity of your activity.
Stay hydrated. Drink water before, during and after your workout.
Take special care of your feet. People with diabetes are more likely to have foot problems. If you develop any sores or blisters, call your doctor. Wear comfortable shoes that fit. Wear socks that keep moisture away from your feet.
Always wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace whether or not you are active.
Remember, exercise is only part of living with diabetes. Other healthy lifestyle habits are important, too, like managing your weight, eating healthy, avoiding tobacco and coping with stress.
By Mary Armstrong, Contributing Writer
- 1. American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2014 Accessed: 10/09/2014
- 2. American Diabetes Association. Foot care. Accessed: 09/09/2014
- 3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. Accessed: 09/09/2014
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