Older Man Jogging on Treadmill

If you are currently at risk for developing diabetes or have already been diagnosed with it, regular exercise can offer surprising benefits due to its ability to lower both stress and blood sugar levels. The National Institutes of Health suggests you get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week, and the American Diabetes Association recommends that you miss no more than two consecutive days of aerobic exercise.

Many activities can be beneficial for people with diabetes, such as walking, tai chi, yoga, dancing and swimming. However, it is important to first know how much exercise is right for you and your body. Before starting any exercise program, talk to your physician to learn how different types of activity may affect you.

Multiple factors can have an impact on your blood glucose response to exercise. If you have type 1 diabetes, you need to take into consideration

  • your blood glucose level prior to initiating a workout
  • intensity of the activity
  • duration of the activity
  • recent changes made to your insulin doses

Even after obtaining your physician’s approval to exercise, you need to take proper precautions before, during and after exercise sessions. Check your blood sugar levels regularly during workouts, always keep a small carbohydrate snack (such as fruit or juice) with you in case you experience low blood sugar, and listen to your body.

People with type 1 diabetes have a total lack of insulin; people with type 2 have too little insulin and/or can’t use it effectively. Therefore, planning ahead and knowing your body’s typical response to exercise is vital to controlling your blood sugar. With type 1 diabetes, it is especially important to balance your insulin doses with food and activity, even if you are just doing work around the house or yard.

For many who have decided it’s time for a change, starting an exercise routine is the easy part―the difficult part is the challenge of keeping up with it. We can help you put an effective system into place to monitor your blood glucose levels while easing you into a safe and enjoyable workout program.

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