Exercise helps people with diabetes to control the weight, manage blood sugar level and improve heart health. Exercise is as critical as diet and medication for a person with diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition that develops if the pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin or if your body is not able to use insulin properly.
How does diabetes affect the body?
Two major diabetes types are Type 1 and Type 2. Both forms of diabetes are chronic disorders that weaken the body’s process of controlling blood sugar or glucose. Glucose fuels the body cells, but it requires a key to reach your cells and that key is Insulin.
People with T1D do not develop insulin, and People with T2D do not respond correctly to insulin.
Both forms of diabetes can cause blood sugar to be chronically high. This raises the risk of complications of diabetes.
“Good diet and exercise are likely to be as good as any prescription, I ever recommend for diabetes and it should continue forever”, says Dr Jambu Kumar Jain(Endocrinologist).
Dr Jambu also says “Type 1 diabetes patients can be trained effectively. You can do so by studying how the body responds to exercise, by learning how to regulate food, insulin and physical activity, and by using research-based methods to minimise the risk of hypoglycemia”.
How to control diabetes with an exercise and food guide and get the best results?
Muscle contraction increases sugar intake during the workout and is so successful that a regular exercise routine will reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 58%.
Exercise can also benefit people with Type 1 diabetes by preventing long-term complications, especially heart attacks because they are more prone to arteriosclerosis which can lead to a heart attack.
Furthermore, the development of T2D can cause many other problems in health and raise the risk of remature death as it is closely associated with cardiovascular disease, the world’s leading cause of death.
Good food is an integral part of a healthy life with or without diabetes. However, if you have diabetes, you need to know how food affects blood sugar levels. It is not about the type of food you consume but also how much you eat and how many foods you eat.
What should I do?
- Learning how to count carbohydrates is a prerequisite to many diabetes treatment strategies. Carbohydrates also affect your blood sugar levels the most. It is crucial to know the quantity of carbohydrates in your diet to get the right dosage of insulin for people who are taking insulin.
- Coordinate your diet and medicines. In proportion to your diabetes medicines particularly insulin too little food can result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Too much food will lead to your blood sugar (hyperglycemia) increasing too high. Discuss with the diabetes health care team how best to manage meals and medicine schedules.
- The exception is if you have low blood sugar levels. Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, juice and sports drinks can be used as an effective treatment to increase blood sugar too quickly.
It is essential to come up with an exercise routine that is accessible and fun to do. Walking is one of the simplest and safest choices, but you might also want to explore new options! You should train at a relaxed pace and not do it excessively. You can predict these results if you stick to a regular and daily routine:
- Increased sensitivity to insulin
- Maintained levels of blood sugar
- Increased energy and stamina all day long
- Loss of weight with an increased tone of muscle
- Greater heart rate and lower blood pressure
- Better night sleep
- Stronger bones and lower osteoporosis risk
- Better disease resistance
- Enhanced cholesterol, heart rate and blood pressure
- Stress reduction, anxiety, boringness, dissatisfaction and depression
The doctors suggest two types of diabetes treatment exercises: aerobic and strength training.
This is achieved with the constant rhythmic movement of your arms and/or legs, to increase the heart rate. For sample, walking, swimming, biking, dancing, and running. Make sure you choose aerobics and set achievable targets.
Power training (also known as resistance training) makes the body more susceptible to insulin and decreases blood sugar.
The Diabetic patients are recommended not only aerobics but strength training at least twice a week, but not two days in a row. Examples of strength training include the use of weight machines, free weights and bands and exercises of body weight including sit-ups, lunges and push-ups.
Precautions diabetic patients need to take while doing exercise.
- Consult your doctor regarding an exercise routine. In general, most adults can do moderate aerobic exercise at least 150 minutes a week. Do about 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every day.
- If you have been inactive for a long time, then first you need to get checked for your overall health. Your doctor may prescribe the best balance between aerobics and muscle reinforcement.
- Maintain a training schedule. Speak to your doctor about the right time of day to exercise to match your workout with your diet and medicine schedules.
- Keep track of your blood sugar levels. Speak to your doctor about blood sugar levels before you start exercising.
- Test your level of blood sugar. Check your blood sugar levels before, during and after a workout, mainly if you take insulin or lower blood sugar medications. Exercise will decrease your blood sugar levels up to one day later, especially if you do a new activity or if you practise at a more intense level.
- If you use insulin and your blood glucose level is lower than 90, you should have a small snack to avoid low blood sugar levels before your workout.
- Be Prepared. Always have a small snack or glucose tablet during exercise if the level of blood sugar falls too low. Wear a bracelet for medical recognition.
- Be Hydrated. Before exercising, drink plenty of water or other fluids because dehydration could affect blood sugar levels.
Do exercise daily to be fit. If you take insulin, you need to decrease your insulin dose before you do exercise and closely track your blood sugar for several hours after physical activity. Your doctor will inform you about necessary adjustments. You may also need to change your medication if your workout schedule has been increased.