Exercise is essential when you have diabetes. It lowers blood pressure, helps you lose weight, and helps you become more fit. However, exercising with diabetes is slightly different; you shouldn't just jump in the saddle. Read on to find out more about what do you need to know about exercising with diabetes.
Learn About the Benefits
Before starting your journey to combat diabetes, you must learn more about the condition and how exercise can help you. Learning about the benefits of exercise can better motivate you to do it. As it turns out, the benefits are many. Exercise can reduce cardiovascular disease, promote your health, and help mitigate risks of heart attacks and stroke.
Have a Plan in Place
Creating an exercise plan with your doctor and healthcare support team surrounding you can help further motivate you and mitigate risks. Planning ahead is important because your team can help educate you, your family, and friends about the nuances of your condition and how exercise may affect you. Otherwise, if you have an emergency, how can anyone help you if they know nothing about your struggles? Having an emergency contact on hand is essential.
Regularly meeting with your doctor is also crucial. They can help you keep a diabetic journal where you note blood sugar levels when taking them. Your journal should also include how different foods affect you and notations on when you feel your best.
You can even get the emergency contacts' phone number engraved on a diabetic bracelet. In case of an emergency, a diabetic bracelet can alert any potential EMS that you have diabetes. As a person with diabetes, your best motivator and line of defense against risk is a solid support system.
Learn How to Stay Safe
So, you've read about the benefits of exercise and want to take the next steps. I know you may want to get out there and exercise the day away, but you can't jump in the saddle just yet. Before you do, you’ll need to learn a few safety tips along the way to help you on your journey.
- Wear diabetic shoes if you can. They help increase circulation and protect your feet against bruising and wounds.
- Focus on low-impact exercises. This means limit high-impact exercises such as jumping, running, or dancing. Try exercises that are gentle such as swimming and walking. Even 'internal' martial arts like Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Yoga are great ways to work up a sweat and burn some calories.
- Warm up for no less than ten minutes before you start your workout.
- When lifting weights, focus on the major muscle groups in your lower and upper body and your core.
- If you feel anxious, sweaty, or lightheaded, don't continue to exercise. Take some time on the sidelines to check your blood sugar to ensure you're okay.
Learn How Different Types of Exercises Can Affect You
Anything that gets the blood pumping and makes you break a sweat is great. However, did you know that different exercises help with different aspects of diabetes? Since everyone is different, it'll take some trial and error, but you can adjust your exercise to suit your diabetic profile. Many tools are available, including continuous glucose monitors that track fluctuations that may come with mixed exercises. These are some of the key points you’ll need to understand about exercising with diabetes.
Time it Right
Generally, low-intensity exercises cause a drop in glucose levels. With anaerobic exercise, you can expect spikes in glucose levels when you exercise since it's higher intensity but with a shorter duration. Since that's the case, if your blood sugar is a little low, you might want to focus a bit on anaerobic exercises. If it's high, you'll likely want aerobic low-intensity exercises. However, don't overdo it. An exercise regimen that's too low-intensity won't be effective in helping you lose weight, but an exercise that's too high-intensity might cause you to hurt yourself.
Have Your Diet Supplement Your Exercise
Certain foods aren't just bad for you. They are also non-conducive to exercise. For instance, sugary junk foods can cause you to crash and make you feel sluggish. Certain sugars, though, can give you the boost you need to stay focused and alert throughout the day. Leafy greens will help your energy levels, allowing you to exercise more efficiently. Protein helps you gain muscle and bulk up. The possibilities are endless. If you make the right choices in your diet, you can make it work for you rather than against you.
Vary Your Exercise
While some forms of exercise are limited and should be avoided for a person with diabetes, you must implement a balanced exercise regimen to help you stay fit. Consider taking up swimming, walking, or weightlifting—or alternating between the three. A good example is light weightlifting twice a week and alternating with some light jogging or walking for a few miles.
Of course—and we can't stress this enough—consult with your doctor and health care team before you take the plunge and do a ton of new exercises. You don't want to overdo it or hurt yourself.
In short, diabetes may be a public health concern, but it's manageable. Often people come to the disorder feeling defeated, but if you make the appropriate lifestyle changes, you'll be in excellent shape. Here at Anodyne, we offer many accessories for people with diabetes, as well as diabetic house shoes for women, socks, and even gel inserts. We're dedicated to helping you look and feel great and offering you the protection you need while you’re exercising, lounging at home, or on the road. Shop at Anodyne today!