How to Start Exercising With Diabetes
Diabetes management has a lot of layers, and it can be overwhelming. Exercising with diabetes may be one of the hardest things to start, because your diabetes can actually get in the way of some of your exercise. However, it’s also one of the most important things for you to do to stay healthy. Here are some tips for getting started.
Unfortunately, having diabetes can put some constraints on what exercises you can do. The first step is to talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about what kinds of exercises are best for you. They can let you know what exercises will be best for you based on the condition of your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, feet and nervous system.
Once you know what activities you can do, make a list of the ones that work best with your lifestyle, and then plan where they will fit into your life. Start working those activities into your life gradually, but make sure they are at least somewhat challenging even as you work yourself up to the activities.
It’s important to check your blood glucose levels before and after exercise, especially in the beginning. Track how your glucose levels respond to exercise. Being aware of this can help you to avoid blood sugar highs and lows. You should be aware that exercise can make high blood glucose go higher, so it may not be a good idea to exercise if your blood sugar is above 300. On the other hand, if levels are normal or low, physical activity can make them go lower either while you exercise or shortly after. Make sure to adjust by eating a snack before you exercise if this happens to you. Make sure to get your blood glucose levels up before you exercise if they are below 70. Talk to your diabetes educator or doctor about the best ways to make sure that you’re ready to exercise on a glucose level.
Make sure that you have plenty of water with you when you exercise, and take snacks – carbohydrates – with you (especially if you’re going out of your house) so that you can cope with low blood glucose quickly if you need to. It’s also a good idea to wear your medical ID tag with you in case of an emergency.
Above all, make sure to track your progress. Being motivated to deal with all of this can be difficult, but if you can find ways to see how much it’s helping, it will make it easier for you to stay consistent.