7 ways to Beat Diabetes
Diabetics should be careful when exercising - even a small medical problem can hamper your ability to exercise safely. So remember to consult your doctor and a fitness expert before starting any kind of exercise program. Make sure you don't have any symptoms of cardiovascular problems or evidence of retinopathy, neuropathy, or nephropathy. And follow these seven tips to help you Beat Diabetes!
1. Monitor your blood sugar levels. Exercise lowers blood sugar. If you're diabetic, keep a regular check on your blood sugar levels before and after you exercise - hypoglycemia can occur during exercise or up to 12 hours after. Ideally, you shouldn't cross 250 mg/dl; if your levels are lower than 100 mg/dl, make sure you eat a workout snack before you start. If you feel faint, dizzy, weak or confused, stop exercising right away and drink some orange juice or other source of quickly digested sugar.
2. Join a gym. Or take a walk. It's a good idea to start in a gym if you can, as the personal trainers there help you understand your body and make exercise a part of your life. But if you can't, just start walking. And yes, it's free. Wear a pedometer and add 10,000 extra steps each day.
3. Thirty a day. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Start by doing 5-10 minutes a day and add five or ten minutes each week until you reach 30. It's better to build your stamina slowly than burn out after a single, tiring session. Also, allow five minutes to warm up before and another five to cool down after your workout session. This allows your heart rate to return to normal when you're done.
4. Take a friend, make a friend. I don't like to walk alone. If you can't find a workout buddy, make music your partner and stop procrastinating. Regular exercise is a lot easier if you do something you really enjoy - for instance, take up dance if you like it. That way, you get your exercise, have fun and make new friends all at once.
5. Stay hydrated. Being dehydrated can raise blood sugar levels. Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day, and always make sure to drink enough liquid before, during and after your workout. If you use insulin, make sure that you inject into your abdomen, not your leg or arm muscles when you exercise.
6. Watch your feet. Most forms of exercise - except swimming - can affect your feet. Keep an eye out for sores or blisters when you work out. Make sure your workout shoes fit well and are comfortable. Wear soft, absorbent socks. If your feet suffer from poor blood circulation, opt for exercises like swimming, yoga or Tai Chi, as they don't pressure them.
7. Get involved! Connect with your local community for support and advice. And learn more about all the things we're doing to Beat Diabetes.
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