Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent the unset of diabetes and health related issues. Exercise is also one of the most important factors for the control of many of theses health realted issues, to help keep your blood sugar levels in balance and to decrease your risk of medical complications. Exercise makes you more fit. It also makes you feel better, look better, and boosts your self-esteem. Exercise can strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, and reduce your stress.
How To Get Started
Visit your doctor for a complete physical examination. Your current health and fitness will help in deciding what kind of exercise program will be right for you.
Set realistic exercise goals. If you set difficult goals too soon, you may become frustrated and give up.
When You Exercise
Choose activities that you enjoy. The more choices and interests you have, the less likely you are to become bored with exercise.
Make sure you have the right equipment, clothing, and shoes. This includes medical identification - a wallet card, necklace or bracelet.
Keep track of your progress. Record each exercise session in your diary or logbook.
To begin, start slowly. Don't try to do too much at once, no matter how enthusiastic or fit you feel. Then, as you improve your physical fitness, you can increase your exercise. It is especially important for those with T1 diabetes to test your blood sugars before you begin to exercise. For those with T2 it is equally helpful to have records of BG and how one feels both before and after exercise.
If your blood sugars are low it is recommended to have a snack before starting your exercise. A good rule of thumb is 15 gr. of carb. per 30 minutes of exercise. (See our chart on carbs burnt per hour in this section.)
Ask your health professional about exercising when BGs are over 240 (This is for Type 1), and whether or not and how to adjust blood sugars. Always check for ketones if BGs are elevated. Drink a lot of fluids to help flush out high BGs
Always drink when exercising. Drink at least 8 oz. for every 30 minutes of exercise.
Ideally, exercise should begin about one to two hours after a meal, so the food will balance the exercise to keep your blood sugar from going too low.
If possible, plan your exercise for the same time every day. Or, have a plan for food and medication on days when activity varies.
Carry a fast-acting sugar food like commercial glucose tablets, real sugar, or raisins or juice.
Use appropriate natural-fiber (cotton, cottonwood) socks and well-fitting comfortable shoes that breathe and support your feet.
Making Exercise A Part Of Your Regular Routine
To give your body the full benefits of exercise, it is best to begin with five to ten minutes a day three to five times a week. Since it takes six weeks to turn an activity into a regular habit, it may be best to begin with a three-day program and work your way up after the close of six weeks. Once you have worked up to a five-day program, your body will benefit from both exercise and rest/rebuild time. As you are making exercise a priority part of your treatment plan, do not be discouraged if you miss an exercise period here and there. Even if you miss a week or two, just pick yourself up and begin again. A little exercise is better than none at all.
Try to exercise with a partner. Even if you lose incentive, your partner will help to keep you going, and vice versa.
Always check with your health care team before starting on a new exercise program!
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