Individuals living with diabetes, regardless whether it is type 1 or type 2, would benefit from having regular physical activity to improve their health and wellness. Doubtlessly, it will take more effort to do so particularly if you are taking insulin. Low and high blood sugar would be a bumper in the middle of a workout. However, it can be done with an extra effort to make sure that everything is under control.
1- Know what exercise you’re doing :
Exercise could be aerobic or anaerobic which means you could either be using you body’s glucose or fat.
Cardiovascular exercise , aerobic exercise, such as jogging, running, cycling, power yoga or even gardening will increase your heart rate. An increased heart rate would mean using glucose as the primary fuel for energy which will lead to lower blood glucose.
Strength training, anaerobic activities, such as sprinting, interval training and circuit training will put your heart rate in an up and down cycle. This cycle would mean using fat as the primary fuel for energy which will lead to a spike in your blood glucose. In this case, it is very normal to have higher levels of blood glucose to enhance strength gains.
2- Control your food, sugar, etc... :
Before exercising, make sure you are aware of the food you are eating. For example, if you are having a complex meal containing carbohydrates and proteins , its essential to know what is the glycemic index for each element you are eating so you can regulate your insulin doses and the possible blood sugar spikes.
Not only you need to control your food, but you also need to be aware of your blood glucose before you start exercising.
3- Log your sugar/insulin numbers:
As mentioned above, one of the variables that you need to take note of is your blood sugar before exercise. If it’s in normal range then this is your green light to go ahead and start training. However, you need to always keep in mind that sometimes your blood sugar might be low ( hypoglycemia). In this case you need to follow the rule of 15 before starting or resuming your exercise.
The other red light that you might encounter is having high blood sugar. In this case you need to monitor your glucose intake pre-exercise or you need to double check your insulin dose.
Note taking is going to be your best friend for the first couple of times to give you an insight of how your body is reacting towards the type of exercise and to the pre-exercise regimen.
4- How much exercise is too much :
Opting for the right intensity and duration is one of the concerns a diabetic individual might have. It is recommended to exercise 150 minutes collectively per week.
Resistance exercises, exercise that increases muscle strength by using free weight, is recommended 2 to 3 times per week.
Remember that having diabetes shouldn’t stop you from staying fit and physically active. Just make sure that you understand your body, take notes of what you body is saying and enjoy your workout !