In people with diabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal because the body either does not produce enough insulin or cannot use insulin properly. The body needs insulin to turn the food we eat into energy.
For a person with diabetes, exercise helps insulin to work better, which will improve your diabetes management. Other advantages are weight control, it lowers your blood pressure, reduces your risk of heart disease and stress.
Ideally, aim for about 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day. If this is not possible, then this time can be divided in 3 x 10 minutes sessions. You should still be able to talk as you exercise without becoming breathless.
Some hints if you have diabetes:
- Drink extra fluid before, during (only if prolonged exercise) and after exercise to avoid dehydration. The fluid may be water or a sweetened drink if extra carbohydrate is required. 250 ml every 15 minutes or one litre of fluid per hour is recommended.
- Take care of your feet when exercising.
- Wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes.
- Always inspect your feet before and after exercise.
- Ulcers or other lesions on the feet are a serious danger for people with diabetes. It is important to avoid foot damage especially for middle-aged and elderly people
- Take extra carbohydrate before and during exercise to prevent hypoglycaemia. Extra carbohydrate is often needed after exercise. Discuss adjusting carbohydrate intake with your doctor or dietitian.
- Monitor your blood glucose levels before, if possible during (at least initially), and after exercise to assess your requirements for extra food.
- It may be necessary to reduce your insulin dose prior to exercise. Insulin adjustment varies with each individual. Discuss appropriate adjustments to suit your exercise schedule with your doctor.
- Wear sun block when exercising outdoors.
Call Tim and Mary Barshaw at Maleny Physiotherapy to advise you on exercise to help with your diabetes on (07) 5494 3911