Exercise improves diabetes management and delays the onset of type 2 diabetes. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or if you are at risk of diabetes, making exercise a part of your lifestyle will improve your diabetes and reduce complications.
Activity fights diabetes in a number of ways. Raising your heart rate — whether by walking, jogging, cycling or swimming — helps your body use insulin more effectively. Exercise also improves blood circulation to all organs, especially the kidneys, brain, heart and eyes, which can be injured by poor diabetes management. Additionally, adults who exercise reap the benefits of stress reduction, decreased LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and weight control. Exercising when you have diabetes also lowers blood sugar and improves protein and fat metabolism, slowing organ damage.
Smart Fueling for Activity
Your new exercise program may lower your blood sugars, and, in turn, your health care provider may adjust your diabetes medication. A registered dietitian nutritionist can help you adjust your meal plan so you have the fuel your body needs.
These guidelines will fuel you for peak performance.
A small whole-grain or carbohydrate snack with some protein provides enduring energy for your activity. You’ll need about 150 to 200 calories, as found in 1/2 cup oatmeal and 1/2 cup fat-free milk, or a slice of whole-grain bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter.
If you’re exercising for more than an hour, you may need additional carbohydrates (such as eight ounces of a sport beverage, half a banana or a handful of raisins) during activity to prevent low blood sugar.
If you plan to exercise for more than an hour, refuel with a post-workout snack, like six ounces of fat-free yogurt and a small apple.
Before, during and after exercising, stay hydrated by drinking water. Drink eight ounces of water before exercise, and continue drinking water so that you have clear urine within two hours of completing your activity. If urine is dark colored, keep drinking water until it is clear.
Whether starting your first exercise program or training for an endurance event — like a marathon or triathlon — increase your training slowly, check your blood sugars and fuel and hydrate before, during and after exercising. Your goal is to be in the blood glucose range that your health care provider recommends. As your fitness improves, you will reap greater health benefits.
National Wellness Manager
Fitness First Middle East