Diabetics & Exercise
A Few Get Smart Guidelines
Having diabetes may be distressing, but learning how to manage diabetes with exercise can help to lessen some of those fears and reservations. However, before starting it pays to get smart so you don’t find yourself having a negative experience or a hypoglycemic reaction.
Disturbing as the realization may be, the number of people with diabetes is growing each year with obesity, the number one reported risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes. On Oct 31, 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the number of new cases in the US nearly doubled in the last decade. Incident rates increased from 4.8 per 1,000 in 1997 to 9.1 per 1000 in 2007.
The benefits of exercise far out-weigh the benefits of not exercising. If you have diabetes those benefits are even more valuable. The benefits are: (a) blood glucose and body weight control, (b) lowered “bad” cholesterol and elevated “good” cholesterol, (c) reduced risk of heart disease, and (d) the improved sense of resilience from an increase in strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance ability.
Get Smart Guidelines for Diabetics:
1. Wear cotton socks and well-fitting athletic shoes unless of course you choose to exercise in the water, then you will need a good pair of water socks. Monitor your feet and hands because you don’t want a sore, blister, or skin irritation. Remember, diabetes can disrupt your ability to sense pressure or pain.
2. Drink plenty of fluids during exercise because blood glucose levels can be affected by dehydration.
3. Check your blood glucose level before exercising and if it is below 100 you need to have a snack. Exercise can cause your level to lower even more and if it becomes too low you might feel shaky, weak, irritable, tired, or overly sweaty. Remember, it is not good to skip meals when you are a diabetic and especially if you are
4. Do not exercise if your blood glucose level is above 300, or if your fasting blood glucose level is above 250 and you have ketones in your urine, because exercise could cause it to go even higher.
5. Avoid exercise that demands you to over exert or lift more weight than you are capable because this can be bad for your arteries and your eyes. Remember, diabetes-related nerve damage can make it difficult to sense how much you are doing; you may be injuring yourself and not know it.
6. It is better to engage in 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week than 60 minutes 1-2 times a week. However, you can add a few minutes to an exercise session each week as your tolerance increases, and your understanding of how to manage diabetes during exercise improves.
1. The CDC at www.cdc.gov/diabetes.
2. The American Physical Therapy Association, Physical Therapy November 2008 Issue, 88(11).
For more info, contact Sally LeDuc, PT of Body Wisdom Physical Therapy at (775)827-3777.