Everyone knows how important exercise can be for their overall health, but for diabetics it is even more imperative to maintain an active lifestyle. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, walking just 40 mins a day, four times a week can help lower insulin resistance, improving blood glucose control. Some say that the hardest part about exercising is getting started and maintaining that lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you develop a lasting routine that will hopefully work for you.
The first and hardest part to becoming more active is to initiate some sort of routine in the first place. It is very hard to create an exercise routine for a number of reasons such as:
- Lack of time
- Lack of energy or willpower
- fear of being injured
- Managing diabetes while exercising
Let’s take a closer look at these issues and see how we can overcome them. The first issue and primary concern for most people is that they don’t have enough time to go out and exercise. First try and manage your time so that you can find a period in the day were you can dedicate to exercising. If you still cannot find the time then just try to become more active in the everyday tasks that you do.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator where ever you go
- Get up every once and a while and move around a bit
- Do your own housework or yard work when you can
- Park at the farthest place possible when parking somewhere
Our energy levels correlate with how much physical activity we do. If you just don’t have enough energy to make it to the gym or go for a walk, start off by doing something very minimal and increasing it little by little. You will come to see that your energy levels will go up and you will be more motivated to go and exercise. Another way to motivate yourself is to find someone or a group of people to exercise with. You can motivate them and they can motivate you which will benefit you physically and socially.
If you’re afraid of injuring yourself during exercise then we advise you to start slowly. Make sure that you warm up and cool off after every workout or activity. If needed, try and look for exercises that have minimum risks involved until you feel very comfortable at performing that task.
As a diabetic it is very important to keep up with your blood sugar levels during exercise. It is advised to check your blood sugar levels before, during and after exercise. Before exercising, it is recommended that your blood sugar be anywhere between 100-250mg/dl. If your sugar drops below 70mg/dl during exercise it is instructed to take either:
- 3-4 glucose tablets
- ½ cup of fruit juice or regular soda
- 5-6 pieces of candy
You should recheck your sugar every 15-20 mins after to make sure that it is going up. If not then repeat the steps mentioned above until your sugar is finally back to normal. It is also important to check your sugar a few hours after exercise just to make sure it doesn’t drop from muscle recovery. So make sure to find a routine that works well for you and remember that testing your sugar after a workout is almost as important as the workout itself, regardless of how intense it maybe.