Exercise in Diabetes management

  • Exercise is important for people with diabetes because it
  • Helps insulin work better to lower blood sugar
  • Helps keep weight down
  • Is good for the heart, blood vessels, and lungs
  • Gives you more energy

Before you begin an exercise routine, your health care team will check your heart, eyes, kidneys, feet, and nervous system to make sure you are healthy enough for physical activity.
Choose a type of exercise that you enjoy so that you are more likely to stick with it. Ask your doctor whether your choice of exercise is a good one for you.

How do I get started with an exercise routine?

As you begin to exercise, start slowly so that your body can get used to it.

Start with a 5 to 10 minute walk outdoors or on a treadmill several days a week, and then gradually add a few more minutes of walking each week.

Exercises like cycling and swimming are good for diabetics.

Experts recommend building up to at least 2 1/2 hours a week of aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, cycling, or dancing.

Tips for being active throughout the day?
1. Walk instead of drive or public transport whenever possible
2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
3. Work in the garden, rake leaves, or do some housecleaning every day

Monitoring Glucose before exercise is vital !

You should check your blood glucose level before and after exercise, especially if you take insulin or oral medications to lower blood glucose.

Exercise changes the way your body reacts to insulin and this can make blood glucose levels too low or too high.

These are serious conditions but with the right monitoring, you can be avoid them. Fear of these conditions should not keep you from exercising.

Because exercise can lower blood glucose, some diabetes medication doses may need to be adjusted when you exercise.

  • If your blood glucose is 300 mg/dL or higher before exercising, you should not exercise because your glucose level could go higher.
  • If your blood glucose is less than 100 mg/dL before exercising, you should eat a snack to keep you blood glucose from going too low.

Author: Dr. Rajiv Singla

A leading endocrinologist and diabetologist from New Delhi. An alumnus of University College of Medical Sciences, Dr. Singla completed his MD (Medicine) from Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC). He went on to pursue DM (Endocrinology & Diabetes) from reputed AIIMS, Delhi.

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