Updated on September 3rd, 2019
Individuals with diabetes know that they need to keep their weight down and watch what they eat. They also know there is more to controlling this disease than a diabetes diet. They need exercise. This is not only to help maintain their lower weight but to increase insulin sensitivity and help regulate blood sugars.
Because you have diabetes, you need to take precautions before, during and after exercising. Below are 4 essential tips for working out when you have diabetes.
1. Plan Ahead
Before you begin your workout, you will need to check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to begin a workout regimen. This does not mean you need to be in excellent shape before you begin, you just need to make sure your heart and lungs are able to handle the pressures of working out.
You will also need to talk to your doctor about your injectable insulin. When the muscles are working better, insulin works faster. This will affect the amounts of added insulin you are putting into your body. You will need to ask your doctor about all the medication you take for your diabetes and if you need to adjust the dosage and/or time for taking them.
2. Track Blood Sugars
You will need to check your blood sugars before you start out on your run, jog or walk. The safest and best range to begin a workout is when your blood sugars are between 100 mg/dl and 250 mg/dl.
You should also test your blood sugars during and after your workouts to make sure you are always within the safe range. Throw an extra blood sugar meter in your gym bag, so you always have it handy.
3. Pack Sweets And Water
Be prepared with a few sweets such as fast-acting carbohydrates. Something like a juice box, your favorite candy or glucose gel will be a real lifesaver when you need something to bring your blood sugars up. You will also want a protein or energy bar in your bag for after workouts.
You will need to stay hydrated before, during and after exercising. Erratic blood sugar numbers are a major contributing factor to dehydration and can cause you to faint or worse. Always carry a refillable water bottle with you, even when you are not planning on exercising. Drinking water is the best thing for anybody, not just those with diabetes.
4. Start Out Slow
If you have been inactive for a while, there is no need to jump right into heavy workouts and exercise programs. Give yourself time to adjust to a new routine. Begin by walking a few days a week and then add weight lifting or a cardio day here and there.
Once your body has become, accustom to working out more days than not, you can increase the intensity and duration of the workouts. Keep in mind that you are a diabetic and do not need to compare yourself to other people in the gym. Every individual, regardless of their beginning health, goes at their own pace. Exercise is a marathon, not a race.
Be sure to always wear an emergency identification tag somewhere on your body. If you experience hypoglycemia, others will know what to do. And always carry a cell phone to contact help if you are out on the road alone.