Fueling Workouts For Diabetics


It is now a known fact that people with either type of diabetes should use exercise to help to manage the condition. The trick is to know how to go about incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle when your condition may be difficult to manage. Fortunately, the answers to such problems are very straightforward and simple, and include:

  • Starting Slow – whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you need to add regular exercise slowly in order to monitor its immediate impact on your glucose levels.

  • Finding Balance – with Type 1 diabetics in particular there will be a very strong need to balance the foods consumed against the exercise used. This is because the body always uses food (glucose) as energy. When you don’t exercise you know exactly how much glucose has been burned, when exercising on the other hand it can take some experimentation to understand how much energy is used.

  • Finding the Right Time – you already know your bodily patterns and those times of the day you may be feeling fatigued. Because of this, you need to add your exercise regimen to your schedule at a time that is safe and easy to control.

Once you understand these issues, you also have to understand another major factor about diabetes and exercise – it requires pre and post exercise energy. This means that you will monitor your blood glucose levels before and after each workout to learn how your body is responding to the increased activity. You will then need to calculate the energy or food needed to ensure your body remains stable and balanced throughout.

It is not as complicated as it might seem. For instance, if you are at a healthy weight and decide to do thirty minutes of brisk walking each morning you need only:

  1. Check your blood glucose before doing the walk;

  2. Eat your regular healthy breakfast;

  3. Do the workout and keep track of how you feel throughout;

  4. Check your blood glucose level immediately after the walk; and

  5. Keep a snack on hand in case you need an immediate supply of energy.

Yes, it really is that basic. Of course, if you are a Type 1 diabetic who has not been exercising regularly, you need to consult with your physician to get their recommendations and clearance before you just leap into a new program.

The Right Amount

Most medical experts tell us that 150 minutes of exercise per week is the ideal goal. This should be “moderate to intense” in terms of the aerobic demands, and should also include two periods of muscle strengthening or resistance exercises and/or flexibility workouts.

So, as a person with diabetes you have a lot of choices about your routines. The key is to understand all that your body needs throughout each workout session. For example, you may elect to do that brisk walking four days per week and join in on a yoga class two times per week. Obviously, you may think you need less energy before, during, and after the yoga than the walking, but you cannot know this unless you first spend some time monitoring yourself.

Once you have the “data” regarding your body’s reaction to activity, it becomes easier and easier to fuel up properly. Generally, you want plenty of fluids before you begin exercising, and you want to have eaten a meal within two hours of the routine. You will always keep a snack on hand, and may even want some glucose tablets if your physician decides this is a good idea.

It is always beneficial for any diabetic to exercise, but the key is to ensure you keep your glucose levels balanced throughout.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

Image Credit: 1, 2 – Smart Photo Stock, 3.

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