Diabetic people should maintain a healthy and active lifestyle to manage their condition. This includes regular physical activity, such as aerobic exercise and strength training, as well as maintaining a healthy diet that is low in added sugars and saturated fats. It’s also important for diabetic people to monitor their blood sugar levels and work with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized plan for managing their diabetes. Additionally, they should avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
Maintaining fitness is an essential part of managing diabetes, as it can help to control blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of complications, and improve overall health.
Nawaz Shaikh, Wellness Expert and Founder, FITX Transformation and Ketan Mavinkurve, Founder & CEO, Alpha Coach share some tips for diabetic individuals to maintain fitness:
Choose the right type of exercise
Aerobic exercise, such as walking, running, cycling, or swimming, is a great way to improve cardiovascular health and control blood sugar levels. Resistance training, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, can also be beneficial for maintaining muscle mass and bone density. It is important to find an activity that you enjoy and can stick with long-term.
Monitor blood sugar levels
Checking blood sugar levels before, during, and after physical activity is crucial to ensure they remain within a healthy range. If blood sugar levels are too low (hypoglycemia), it may be necessary to eat a snack or adjust insulin doses before exercising. If blood sugar levels are too high (hyperglycemia), it may be necessary to take a break from physical activity or adjust medication doses.
Eat a healthy diet
A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can provide the energy needed for physical activity and help to control blood sugar levels. It is important to choose foods that are low in added sugars and saturated fats, and to spread meals and snacks evenly throughout the day to maintain consistent blood sugar levels.
Dehydration can increase the risk of high blood sugar levels, so it is important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity. Carry a water bottle with you when exercising and aim to drink at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water per day.
Wear appropriate footwear
Foot injuries, such as cuts, blisters, or sores, are a common complication of diabetes. Wearing shoes with good support and cushioning can help to prevent foot injuries, so it is important to choose footwear that fits well and provides adequate support.
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Take breaks as needed
If you are feeling tired or unwell, or if blood sugar levels are outside of a healthy range, it is important to take a break from physical activity. Listen to your body and take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
Please consult with a healthcare professional
Before starting any new exercise routine, individuals with diabetes need to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or a certified diabetes educator. They can help develop a personalized exercise plan that is safe and effective.
Prioritize weight training in some capacity
Diabetes needs a daily glucose management plan in the body. Weight training places demands and depletes the muscles of nutrients which increases the body’s insulin sensitivity. Meaning, the body is better primed to manage and dispose sugar from the bloodstream. This can be very beneficial for diabetics in long term management.
Choose activities you enjoy
It is important to choose activities you enjoy and are more likely to stick with in the long term. It can include walking, swimming, cycling, or dancing.
Set realistic goals
Setting realistic goals can help you stay motivated and on track with your fitness routine. It is essential to start slowly and gradually increase your workouts’ intensity and duration over time.
Keep track of your blood sugar levels
It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels before, during, and after physical activity. It will help you determine how exercise affects your blood sugar and how to adjust your insulin or medications as needed.
It is important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity to stay hydrated. It is especially important for individuals with diabetes, as high blood sugar levels can increase the risk of dehydration.
Make the right nutrition choices
The easiest way to manage glucose in the body is by eating the right quality and quantity of foods. Portion control, use of vegetables, whole foods and protein rich foods is a great sure shot way to keep diabetes under check
Lokendra Tomar, Diet Educator & Founder of Diabexy, warns, “A diabetic person should not exercise in the morning. This might be unbelievable for you because everyone must have told you that physical exercise is very important for a diabetic person to manage his blood sugar levels and morning is considered as the best time to exercise.
To understand this concept of no exercise in the morning, we must learn some basics of blood sugar management. Blood sugar is managed in the body by two hormones, insulin, and glucagon.”
If both hormones are in a balanced position, then blood sugar levels will remain constant and if insulin hormone increases, it will decrease blood sugar levels, and if glucagon hormone increases it will increase blood sugar levels by increasing the production of sugar in the liver.
Every day in the early morning hours’ insulin levels remain low in the diabetic person due to a weak pancreas. “If the person starts exercising in the morning, then his muscles will start using whatever small amount of insulin is present in the blood, insulin is required by the muscles for repairing the broken muscles due to exercise hence insulin levels will further go down. When insulin is low, then glucagon will rise, and it will stimulate the liver to produce more sugar hence blood sugar will start rising,” adds Tomar.
If a diabetic person exercises in the morning, then his blood sugar will rise, which is not good for them. Hence it is in the best interest of diabetic people to not exercise in the morning instead, a diabetic person should exercise in the evening.
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