Exercise Considerations for People with Diabetes
By: Whitney Neal
Exercise is very important for people with diabetes as a means of staying healthy and improving health, but there are a few things to consider when exercising, especially if there are secondary conditions present in conjunction with diabetes. Below are a few tips on exercising with diabetes and secondary conditions:
- Check your blood sugar before you begin exercising. Physical activity can lower your blood glucose too much, causing hypoglycemia, especially in people with diabetes who take insulin or certain oral medications. If it is below 100, have a small snack. On the other hand, exercising when your blood sugar is very high is not a good idea because the exercise could cause it to further increase. Do not exercise if your blood glucose is above 300, or your fasting blood glucose is above 250 and you have ketones in your urine.
- Carry a snack with you. This is advised in case your blood sugar drops too low while exercising or immediately after.
- Start slow. If you have not exercised previously, start with 10 minutes of exercise per day and build up over time. Brisk walking, dancing, gardening, or taking a class are all great ways to be active and are activities at which you can build up your endurance over time.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Consume plenty of fluids during exercise since your blood glucose can be affected by dehydration.
- Carry identification that says you have diabetes. Be sure to carry or wear medical identification and carry contact information for your physician. It is important to be prepared just in case something happens to you while you are exercising.
- Wear shoes that fit well. When you exercise, wear cotton socks and athletic shoes that fit well and are comfortable in order to help prevent sores, blisters, irritation, cuts, or other injuries.
- Check your feet every day. Check your feet on a daily basis for sores, blisters, irritation, cuts, or other injuries. Call your doctor or nurse if the injury does not go away after two days.