Exercising and Diabetes
By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., ACCESS Media Relations Specialist
October 6, 2017
A consistent exercise routine is good for everyone, especially individuals with diabetes. Regular physical activity lowers blood pressure and cholesterol; strengthens your heart, muscles and bones; relieves stress; lowers blood glucose levels; improves sleep; and betters your overall quality of life. But people with diabetes need to take special care that their activity is safe. Below are a few things individuals with diabetes should keep in mind when developing their routine.
- Consult your doctor. Your doctor will determine if your planned exercise routine will work for you or if it needs to be altered. Your doctor also will consider your diet and any medication you take, ensuring that it's appropriate for your activities.
- Have carbohydrates on hand. A snack like a piece of fruit can raise your blood sugar if your level gets too low.
- Exercise with a friend. Exercising with someone else who has diabetes is helpful for keeping you motivated and for reminding you to check your blood sugar.
- Start off slowly. If you're not used to exercising consistently, ease into an exercise regimen. Start with a brief 10-minute workout and then work your way to a daily 30-minute routine.
- Keep hydrated. It's very important to hydrate before, during and after a workout.
- Don't push yourself. Many people mistakenly believe that their body doesn't benefit from a workout unless they are in pain afterward. While mild muscle soreness is normal after exercising, sudden, prolonged pain is not.
Diabetes should never stand in the way of you living your life to the fullest. With a little planning, a lot of ambition and the right consultation from a medical professional, you can reach your fitness goals. Schedule an appointment at one of the 36 ACCESS health centers located throughout Cook and DuPage counties to speak with a doctor about devising your personal exercise plan. You also can learn more about managing diabetes through ACCESS' free diabetes education classes. Click here for the class schedule.