When you are active then your cells become more responsive to insulin (a hormone produced in the pancreas, which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood) so it can work more powerfully and also remove glucose (the food you eat gets digested and broken down into a sugar which body cells can use) which is the simplest forms of sugar. Exercise is also important for your well being, and it can help with many other health conditions.
For a person with diabetes exercise helps:
- Insulin to work better (diabetes management)
- Lower blood pressure
- Better control of weight
- Stronger muscles
- Stronger bones
- Improved mood
- Better sleep
- Reduce risk of heart disease
- Reduce stress.
There are several considerations that are important for the individual with diabetes. Aerobic exercises (including walking, tennis, jogging, swimming, basketball and biking) are recommended, but taking protective measures for physical activity involving.
- To avoid dehydration drink extra water before, during & after exercise. Drink 250 ml water after every 15 minutes or one litre per hour is recommended.
- Before doing exercise check your blood glucose levels, and after exercise to assess your requirements for extra food.
- Take extra carbohydrate before and during exercise to avoid hypo-glyceamia. Extra carbohydrate is required after exercise.
- Always check your feet before and after exercise. Lesions on the feet are serious danger for people with diabetes. It’s important to avoid foot damage especially for aged people. The use of silica gel or socks to prevent wound and keep the feet dry is important for minimizing pain to the feet. Wear comfortable shoes.
- If you have not exercised much recently, you can start it slow and gradually increase the intensity of the activity.
- Increase general physical activity which will also helpful, e.g. use stairs instead of the lift, gardening, and housework. Watching too much TV or sitting at the computer for a long time should be avoided.
- For good health, you should be doing exercise for about 30 minutes of every day. If it is not possible, then you can divide exercise throughout the day.
Exercise and Type 1 Diabetes:
People with type 1 diabetes can be performed all levels of physical activity such as recreational sports, leisure activities, and competitive professional performance. The ability to adjust the therapeutic treatment to allow safe participation and high performance has recently been recognized as an important management tactic in these individuals. In particular, the important role played by the patient in collecting self monitored blood glucose data of response to exercise and then using these data to improve performance and enhance safety is now fully accepted. If the patient has an enough knowledge of the metabolic and hormonal responses to physical activity and well-tuned self management skills then he can be avoided the risk of hypoglycemia, which can occur during, or after exercise.
General instructions that may prove helpful in regulating the glyceamic response to physical activity are as follows:
Metabolic control before exercise:
- Avoid physical activity if fasting glucose level is greater than 250 mg/dl and use caution if glucose level is greater than 300 mg/dl.
- Consume added carbohydrate if glucose level is less than 100 mg/dl.
Blood glucose monitor before and after exercise:
- Notice when changes in insulin or food intake are essential.
- Learn the glyceamic response to different physical activity conditions.
- Consume carbohydrate as needed to avoid hypoglyceamia.
Studies have been valuable in changing the center of attention for physical activity in diabetes from glucose control to that of an important life behavior with several benefits. In children, particular attention requires to balance glyceamic control with the normalcy of play and for this, the help of parents, athletic coaches and teachers may be essential. In the case of adolescents, hormonal changes can cause difficulty in controlling blood glucose levels. In spite of these added problems, it is clear that with careful instructions in the treatment of hypoglyceamia, physical activity and self-management can be a safe and rewarding experience for the great majority of adolescents and children with type 1 diabetes.
Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes:
Exercise is also an important part of treatment plan in type-2 diabetes along with a healthy meal plan and maintains your blood glucose level through medication or insulin. If you stay active throughout your life then you will be able to control better in diabetes and keep your blood glucose level in the proper range. Controlling blood glucose level is necessary to prevent long-term complications, e.g., kidney disease and nerve pain. Exercise has a lot of benefits, but the most important benefit is to control blood glucose (blood sugar) level. People with type 2 diabetes having too much glucose in their blood and their body does not produce enough insulin to process it, or their body does not use insulin accurately (which is called insulin resistant). Moreover, exercise can reduce the glucose in blood. In other words, it does not matter if you are insulin resistant or if you do not have enough insulin, by doing exercise your muscles acquire the glucose they need, and in turn, blood glucose level goes down. Exercise actually makes your insulin more effective. Your insulin resistance goes down when you exercise, and your cells can use the glucose more effectively. People with diabetes are at risk to developing arteriosclerosis (blocked arteries), which can lead to a heart attack. It helps in keeping your heart strong and healthy. Exercise also helps you maintain good cholesterol that helps you avoid arteriosclerosis. Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes does change your life, but making small changes to your routine can help you fit in more physical activity into your day. You need to do what works for your body and your lifestyle.
Stick with Your Exercise Plan:
Make a promise to exercise and make it a priority. Your long-term health depends on exercise, so as hard as it may be to find time or to motivate yourself to exercise, keep being active. Exercise and physical activity is necessary part of your life when you have diabetes. It can help you to avoid serious long term complications of diabetes.