Diabetes Health: Exercise Caution
Diabetes Health: Exercise Caution

Increased activity also lowers bad cholesterol, raises good cholesterol, stabilizes blood pressure, enhances the effectiveness of insulin, improves mood, and boosts self-confidence.

When Is It Safe To Exercise?
Managing your blood sugar is crucial to a safe exercise plan. You should check it before, during, and after your session. A test thirty minutes before you plan to begin will indicate whether exercise is safe. If your glucose level falls below 100mg/dL, try a piece of fresh fruit or whole grain crackers, but do not exercise until it reaches the 100 to 250mg/dL range. Blood sugar elevated beyond 300mg/dL is too high for exercise. Symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) include: excessive thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, and dry skin. You must not exercise in this instance, because your sugar levels could continue to escalate. You might be able to lower your sugar using prescribed medications. Consistent adherence to your exercise plan will contribute to lower blood sugar over time.

During exercise, watch for symptoms of hypoglycemia, a blood glucose level of 70mg/dL or lower. If you feel shaky, nervous, irritable or confused, if you develop a hand tremor, or if your skin becomes cold and damp, stop exercising. Take glucose tablets, drink four ounces of fruit juice or sugared soda, or eat several pieces of hard candy. Recheck your glucose in 15 minutes. Have another snack if necessary. Repeat the process until your blood sugar level is above 70mg/dL. You can resume exercise when your sugar level is stable. Continue to monitor it closely several hours after you finish.

Protect Your Feet!
You must also take special care of your feet when you exercise. If you have diminished sensation in your toes and feet, and/or poor circulation, you are especially vulnerable to injury and infection. It is therefore important to choose proper footwear. A protective exercise shoe features ample toe room, a removable, flexible insole, a sole that cushions the ball of the foot, and a stabilizing, firm heel. Since exercise places extra stress on your feet, you must be vigilant for signs of injury. Do daily checks for cuts, sores, swelling, and infected nails, both before and following exercise. Wiggle your toes for five minute sessions, once before and once after exercise. If your feet are severely affected by neuropathy, try seated activity. Chair-based stretching and strengthening enhances everyday functioning, and in some cases seated exercise leads to an increased activity level.

Know Which Exercise Are Beneficial
Knowing which activities to avoid is as important as identifying the beneficial ones. Isometric exercises for example, could put you at risk if you have high blood pressure, eye problems or damaged blood vessels. Isometric movement also potentially aggravates vascular conditions. Avoid activities requiring heavy strain but minimal movement.

Just as diabetes compels you to modify your diet, it also requires you to approach exercise differently. Be mindful of these guidelines for your safety and comfort. Do not allow your symptoms to discourage you from staying active!

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