How often should a diabetic exercise? What kinds of exercise would be appropriate?

Ask:

I’m not sure how much exercise would also be considered too much. I’ve heard and read some recommend an exercise of 3 times a week. Would exercising daily be too much? I think other people leading active lifestyles have no problem with daily physical activity. Is it possible for a diabetic to still build up their muscles? Or would their condition make it a little more difficult for them?

Answer:

If you’re out of shape or have recently been diagnosed as having diabetes, see your doctor before you begin an exercise program. Your doctor can tell you about the kinds of exercise that are good for you depending on how well your diabetes is controlled and any complications or other conditions you may have. Here are some tips for starting:

* If you’re planning to walk or jog, be sure your shoes fit well and are designed for the activity you have in mind. Be alert for blisters. Wear new shoes for a bit each day until they’re comfortable and not as likely to cause blisters. Remember, always wear socks.

* Start slowly with a low-impact exercise such as walking, swimming, or biking.

* Build up the time you spend exercising gradually. If you have to, start with five minutes and add a bit of time each day.

* Always wear an ID tag indicating that you have diabetes to insure proper treatment in case there’s a problem when you’re exercising or you have an injury.

* Avoid lifting very heavy weights as a precaution against sudden high blood pressure.

* If you have foot problems, consider swimming or biking, which is easier on the feet than jogging.

* Stretch for five minutes before and after your workout regardless of how intense you plan to exercise.

How often should you exercise?

Try to exercise at the same time every day for the same duration. This will help control your blood sugar. Exercise at least three times a week for about 30 to 45 minutes.

What about food and insulin?

If you plan to exercise more than an hour after eating, it’s a good idea to have a snack. Generally, it’s good to have a high-carbohydrate snack such as six ounces of fruit juice or half of a plain bbagel.
If you’re doing heavy exercise such as aerobics, running or handball, you may need to eat a bit more such as a half of a meat sandwich and a cup of milk.

If you haven’t eaten for over an hour or if your blood sugar is less than 100 to 120, eat or drink something like an apple or a glass of milk before you exercise. Carry a snack with you in case of low blood sugar.

If you use insulin, exercise after eating, not before. Test your blood sugar before, during and after exercising. Don’t exercise when your blood sugar is more than 240.

If you’re not an insulin user, test your blood sugar before and after exercising if you take pills for diabetes.

When is exercise a problem?

If your blood sugar level is over 300 mg/dl, if you are sick, short of breath, have ketones in your urine or are experiencing any tingling, pain or numbness in your legs, don’t exercise. Also if your medication is peaking, it’s better not to exercise.

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