Exercise is beneficial for everyone, but it is especially important for people with diabetes. However, living with diabetes can also complicate things when it comes to working out. Below are some tips for people with diabetes to get the most out of their fitness programs.
1. Talk to your doctor.
Before you start any new exercise regimen, ask your doctor if it is safe. If your doctor clears you for exercise, ask him or her if there are any specific precautions you should take. For example, your doctor may instruct you to take your sugar before and after exercising, exercise at a certain time of day or avoid certain types of activities.
2. Start slowly.
If you are beginning an exercise program, start with low impact exercises, especially if you have been inactive for a long period of time. Increase the intensity of your workouts slowly to avoid injury, extreme soreness and burnout.
3. Stay hydrated.
People with diabetes are at a higher risk of dehydration than the general public. To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of water before, during and after your workouts.
4. Keep glucose testing supplies on hand.
Exercising can induce low blood sugar. Even if you have eaten recently, keep your glucose testing supplies on hand in case you begin to feel the symptoms of a low. Symptoms of low blood sugar may include:
If you experience any of these issues, check your blood sugar right away. If it is too low, raise it with a doctor-approved treatment, such as a complex carbohydrate or glucose tablet.
5. Protect your feet.
Diabetes can affect the health of your feet by reducing circulation and damaging the nerves. As a result, you may be prone to developing infections in your feet. To reduce the risk of problems, protect your feet from blisters and callouses when exercising by wearing socks and shoes that fit properly and are appropriate for exercise. If you will be engaging in activities that will put sustained pressure on your feet, such as walking or jogging, consider investing in shoes designed to provide extra support.
6. Stop if you feel pain.
Exercise can be strenuous or even uncomfortable at times. However, it should not be painful. If you feel pain, or if you are unable to catch your breath, take a break.
7. Be prepared for emergencies.
Even when you take all of the proper precautions, accidents can happen. Keep a cellphone with you at all times when you are working out in case you need to call for help, and consider wearing a medical alert bracelet that lists all of your medical conditions, including diabetes.