Essential Exercise Tips For People With Diabetes

By Consultant Diabetolgist Dr. A. Paneerselvam

Regular exercise is in general good for everybody.  It promotes well being, improves circulation, metabolism, weight reduction etc. Exercise is an adjuvant to diet therapy in the management of diabetes.  There are a lot of benefits for a diabetic, provided they do it regularly.

Benefits of exercise:

· It helps prevent diabetes for the potential group.
· It postpones the onset of overt diabetes.
· It controls diabetes effectively along with diet and drug.
· It helps reduce the intake of tablets and insulin.
· It controls weight, B.P and cholesterol.

What type of exercise is good?

 Walking is ideal. The simplest exercise is walking.  If the legs, heart and eye are alright, half an hour to one hour of brisk walking helps a lot.  It requires involvement.  No costly equipment and special places are required.

One hour of walking burns 300 calories. By way walking/exercise and diet the excess weight people can reduce two kg of weight every month.  Diabetic people with insensitive foot will develop an ulcer on barefoot and prolonged walking.  Already if one has a foot ulcer, they must exercise caution.  Many neuropathic feet become ulcerated on walking.
Vigorous exercise can also cause low sugar, hence the exercise, food intake and medicines for diabetics should match and be well balanced. If exercise is more and food is less the individual will face low sugar reaction.

For Type-1 Diabetes:

            After good control of diabetes, type-1 diabetes can undertake any exercise which was mentioned earlier. It is better to have milk or few biscuits before exercise, after exercise also it is better to take something, otherwise these people will go for low sugar.  Prolonged and competitive physical activities are not good.  Exercise in an uncontrolled state will push the individual towards diabetic coma.

For type – 2 Diabetes:

Depending upon the age and other complications any exercise which was mentioned earlier may be undertaken. Precautions towards low sugar, heart problem must be undertaken.  Like type-1 diabetics, it is better to take some food before and after exercise.

Yoga is a form of physical exercise, in addition, it reduces the counter hormones which are rising the blood sugar, so it is good for diabetics.  Exercise, yoga and diet are preventing diabetes to 60% in the potential group.

exercise tips for diabetes

Who should not walk?

People with an ulcer in the feet, amputated leg, poor vision, heart and kidney problems should not go for walks.  Cycling, Jogging, Table Tennis, Shuttle Cock, Swimming, Treadmill Walking, Static cycling are the other forms of exercise. (Isotonic Exercise) five to ten minutes of warming up, then thirty minutes to sixty minutes of exercise daily will definitely help diabetics.

 Exercises which involve a lot of strain eg. weight lifting, competitive and prolonged exercises (isometric exercise) are not good for diabetics. It is advisable to consult a Physician / Diabetologist before starting regular exercises.

Things to remember:

What you eat and when also depend on how much you exercise. Exercise is an important part of staying healthy and controlling your blood glucose. Physical activity should be safe and enjoyable, so talk with your doctor about what types of exercise are right for you. Whatever kind of exercise you do, here are some special things that people with diabetes need to remember:

  • Take care of your feet. Make sure your shoes fit properly and your socks stay clean and dry. Check your feet for redness or sores after exercising. Call your doctor if you have sores that do not heal.
  • Drink about 2 cups of water before you exercise, about every 20 minutes during exercise, and after you finish, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Warm up and cool down for 5 to 10 minutes before and after exercising. For example, walk slowly at first, then walk faster. Finish up by walking slowly again.
  • Test your blood glucose before and after exercising. Do not exercise if your fasting blood glucose level is above 300. Eat a small snack if your blood glucose is below 100.
  • Learn to identify signs of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia).

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