Exercise needs to be a vital part of a diabetic patient’s life. It helps in controlling blood sugar levels and also reduces the risk of further complications. Since muscles require more glucose when they contract (during any activity) rather than when they rest, there is an increase in the uptake of blood glucose.
However, exercise is useful only when done safely. Otherwise, it can lead you to certain complications. In diabetics, strenuous exercise or moderate exercise without eating something can lead to the blood sugar dropping down to dangerous levels. Therefore, diabetic patients should take certain precautions before, during, and after exercising.
Blood sugar levels and exercise
The below guidelines need to be followed to prevent dangerous fluctuations in sugar levels:
- It is advisable to exercise at the same time every day. This will give you an idea regarding the impact of a particular exercise routine on sugar levels. Also, it is a good idea to maintain records of your meals, exercises, and medicines in order to help you maintain stable glucose levels. Diabetics should avoid exercising late in the evening because they might have hypoglycemia during sleep without being aware of it. Hypoglycemia in sleep could be fatal.
- Measure your sugar levels before exercising. If the levels are below 100 mg/dl, then have a carbohydrate snack to prevent hypoglycemia. If the levels are above 250 mg/dl, start your exercise only after the levels drop below 250 mg/dl.
- Always have a companion who can help you out if your sugar levels drop to a lower value. If a companion is not available, you should wear an ID which indicates that you are diabetic, so that any passersby can take to help you in the case of any unexpected events.
- Carry fast-acting carbohydrate foods such as glucose tablets which you can take in case of hypoglycemic episodes.
- It is advisable not to exercise when you have an infection as it can affect your sugar levels.
- Insulin levels can spike during exercise and the blood glucose can get rapidly absorbed leading to hypoglycemia if the carbohydrate levels in the blood are not adequate before exercising. Do not take insulin shots to those body parts which you will be using excessively during exercise.
You may be at risk of injuries during exercise which you can prevent through simple precautions. You should never over-do your routine. Instead, increase the time and intensity gradually (for example, 10% every week). Do not suddenly stop exercising but try to cool down slowly through warm up exercises. This is especially important when you notice symptoms of dizziness, fainting, nausea, chest pain or tightness, and shortness of breath. Perform only those exercises which you feel comfortable with. Do not strain yourself with hard exercises.
Usually, exercising regularly is beneficial for any individual. However, being cautious about certain issues helps to prevent any unwanted effects associated with diabetes. If you are not certain about these precautions, you can take your doctor’s help.
Diabetes is a serious condition and it is unfortunate that more people aren’t aware of its symptoms and of the precautions against it. Spread the word with a like or a share.