Exercising with Diabetes
Exercise is a critical component in managing diabetes. Aerobic exercise can decrease the requirements of insulin and increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Exercise can also help to attain and maintain ideal body weight and decrease the risk for hypertensive diseases, including cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease, while slowing the progression of diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage).
Type 2 diabetics who have lost protective neural sensation should not participate in treadmill walking, prolonged walking, jogging, or step exercises. Recommended exercises include low resistance walking, swimming, bicycling, rowing, chair exercises, arm exercises, and other non-weight bearing exercises.
Guidelines for Safe Exercises in Diabetics
- Have a routine medical exam.
- Develop a balanced program of diet and exercise under a physician’s supervision.
- Wear an I.D. bracelet or necklace indicating that you are a diabetic.
- Eat at regular times throughout the day.
- Avoid exercising at the peak of insulin action and in the evening, when hypoglycemia is apt to occur.
- Adjust your carbohydrate intake and insulin dosage prior to exercise.
- Check your blood glucose levels before, during (if possible), and after exercise.
- Prevent dehydration by consuming adequate fluids before, during, and after exercise.
- To prevent hypoglycemia, have access to fast-acting carbohydrates during exercise.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages, or drink in moderation.
- Avoid smoking.