Exercise serves our health. They support the treatment of many diseases, including diabetes. However, it should be remembered that in the case of diabetics, physical activity must be correlated with proper diet, more frequent glucose measurements and adjusting the insulin dose according to the planned exercise intensity.
Frequent exercise improves our well-being, fitness and overall body condition. This allows oxygenation of individual organs and speeds up the metabolic process. What’s important for diabetics is that muscle work increases the body’s insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar. Regular exercise increases the body’s need for energy and allows overweight or obese people to lose weight. Just half an hour of moderate training three times a week can burn about 1000-1300 calories.
It has long been known that proper nutrition and regular exercise are the most important in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. The minimum metabolically effective dose of physical activity is physical activity, which allows you to burn at least 1000 kcal per week. After 3-6 months of regular exercise, you can expect noticeable effects of systematic exercise, such as weight loss or lipid improvement.
For diabetics, the most important thing is to choose those forms of activity that will be well tolerated by the body and will not pose a threat to health. Experts recommend primarily: walking, including Nordic walking (walking on sticks), cycling, swimming, calm dance, daily gymnastics, ice skating and volleyball.
Elderly diabetics with type 2 diabetes, obese patients and all patients receiving insulin should walk for 30 minutes even daily (recommendation of the Polish Diabetes Association). Doctors do not advise diabetics to practice so-called static force and muscle tension in the upper body, such as rowing, boxing or bodybuilding. Skydiving, piloting, mountain climbing, or diving are also dangerous for diabetics. In the case of diabetics, the decision to engage in competitive sports is at the discretion of the doctor.
Moderate effort is ideal for diabetics. Intense physical activity is strictly prohibited if the blood glucose level exceeds 250-300 mg / dl, and it does not matter that the patient is feeling well. It is best to test blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise, especially when we start exercising or change the type of exercise.
It is worth remembering that low blood glucose levels can appear even several hours after exercise. Immediately before training, its concentration should be between 6 and 12 mmol / L (approximately 110 to 210 mg / dL). If it is higher, it is better to go for a short walk – our body does not have enough insulin, and exercise can lead to an increase in glucose levels and the appearance of acetone in urine. In the case of intense and prolonged exercise, it may be necessary to reduce the insulin dose (by 20-50%), acting during and after exercise.
Glycemic control before bed after exercise is also extremely important. If the insulin dose has not been reduced and the glycemia is below 10-12 mmol / L (approximately 180-210 mg / dL), then you should eat food full of carbohydrates (for example, bread, fruits).
This will prevent hypoglycemia at night.
Do you have diabetes? Remember that you need to be careful not only when planning your workouts, but also, for example, spring work on the site. Don’t dig the beds hard if you haven’t measured your blood sugar, have breakfast, or taken insulin. Remember to always have a diabetic with you.
Even with proper treatment, the so-called diabetes mellitus, there may be episodes of hypoglycemia, that is, hypoglycemia, for example, after more than normal physical activity. When your blood sugar drops, you get worse every minute. The patient falls asleep for a split second, but may also suddenly faint.
Tips for Diabetics
- After prolonged intense exercise, the risk of hypoglycemia may persist for up to 48 hours.
- If we feel excessively tired (for example, we start to sweat excessively), it is absolutely necessary to slow down the pace of exercise.
- A diabetic should not have a high heart rate during exercise – subtract the patient’s age from 170 to calculate this. This will give you a target heart rate limit during exercise.
- Especially in old age, the coronary arteries should be examined before the first attempts at exercise and to rule out retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy.
- During training, we should always pay attention to the first signs of hypoglycemia: drowsiness, dizziness, abdominal pain, muscle tremors, weakness, accelerated heart rate. This should be fixed quickly, such as with food or a sweetened drink.
- An extra carbohydrate serving is needed if your blood glucose is below 90 mg / dL before exercise.
What should a diabetic remember when planning an exercise?
- Get a so-called diabetic tool, that is, an insulin pen, a bracelet or ID card with information about the disease, a meter and test strips.
- Do not start physical activity (especially in the morning) until you have measured your blood glucose levels, taken insulin, and have eaten breakfast. If you are still short on time, ask your doctor for an insulin analogue that will start working immediately after injection.
- If your blood glucose is below 90 mg / dL, be sure to eat something. Don’t leave home without sandwiches or candy on the road.