You’ll need to meet with your healthcare team as one of the first steps. If you haven’t recently, you should have a physical exam and a comprehensive medical history taken. To keep your blood glucose levels within the target range, you’ll want to discuss with your team how to modify your eating strategy and your insulin or oral diabetes medication.
You could also want to talk about the kinds of physical exercise you’re thinking about.
Check to see if you have any health issues that can prevent you from exercising safely. You should get checked for signs of retinopathy, heart disease, and any issues with kidney or nerve function before starting a regular exercise regimen. Although having any of these issues may prevent you from exercising, you may need to address them before beginning a regular exercise routine.
Physical Activity Topics to Discuss with Your Doctor
What signs of hypoglycemia or heart problems should I watch out for?
Any special safety measures I should follow?
In some instances, your doctor could suggest that you see an exercise physiologist so they can examine your health in further detail. To ascertain your degree of fitness, an exercise physiologist will do a number of tests, including calculating your strength, flexibility, endurance, and body fat. You might also receive a treadmill stress test from the physiologist, in which you walk while having your blood pressure and heart rate monitored. The test measures your blood pressure and heart rate after an exercise.
When a Treadmill Stress Test May Be Required
If your doctor chooses not to administer the test, you will require a referral to see an exercise physiologist. There are numerous wellness programs for diabetics and rehabilitation programs for those who have had heart surgery or strokes at hospitals and universities. These programs include a broad range of exercise options to get you started in a medically supervised environment, as well as stress assessments by exercise physiologists.
Listening to your body is the finest guideline for a risk-free workout. There shouldn’t be too much discomfort, exhaustion, or difficulty breathing. Trying to accomplish too much too soon may result in accidents or even dangerous circumstances. Any workout you perform should be warmed up for and cooled down from.
Your chance of suffering from torn muscles and other injuries is decreased by warming up before exercising.
You ratchet up, stay going, and get your heart pumping during the aerobic phase. During this phase, your muscles will require extra oxygen. In order to get more oxygen into your muscles through your small blood vessels, your heart beats quicker and your breathing becomes deeper.
It’s possible that you won’t be able to maintain aerobic activity for very long if you’re just beginning an exercise regimen. That’s alright. Start with 5–10 minutes, then gradually extend the aerobic period. A simple workout is preferable to none at all. Sometimes, once you start moving, you’ll start to feel better and continue the entire distance. You will eventually be able to last the full 20 to 30 minutes. Simply pay attention to your body’s signals and slow down as needed.
Keep Your Pace
Do not forget to take it slow. Pay attention to the signals your body sends. Finding the proper pace for you is essential for a safe and efficient workout.
Exercise Stopping or Slowing Down
Your desired heart rate should be reached while engaging in aerobic exercise. You can seek advice on the target zone that is safe for you from your doctor or an exercise physiologist. Your desired heart rate can be determined with the aid of an exercise stress test. The chart below can be used to determine your desired heart rate based on your age.
How to Determine Your Goal Heart Rate
Here’s an illustration of how it operates. Your maximum heart rate is 180 if you are 40 (220 – 40 = 180). If your resting heart rate is 75, your heart rate goal range (see below) would be 128–149 in order to perform at 50–70% of your aerobic capacity.
Be cautious! Any specific medical problems or prescription drugs you may be taking are not considered in this computation. Verify with your provider that the computed target heart rate is secure for you.
Your breathing and pulse rate might progressively slow during a cool down as your movement slows. Never stop working out abruptly, regardless of how exhausted you are. This may lessen the likelihood of pain and cramping.
No pain, no gain is a common phrase associated with exercising. But unless you’re Rocky Balboa, you can definitely find some kind of enjoyable and helpful activity. The secret is to choose a task you enjoy and complete it at a pace that seems natural to you. If you adopt this strategy, you’ll be more likely to persist with your fitness program.
There isn’t a single activity that is ideal. There are different kinds that increase calorie burn, certain kinds that are very good for building strength and flexibility, and different kinds that are especially good for your heart.
The safest and most affordable method of exercise is definitely walking. Because it can be incorporated into other activities, it can fit into practically anyone’s schedule. You could walk to the post office instead of driving a half-mile, for instance.
The only thing you need to spend money on is a good pair of walking shoes. You receive an exercise that strengthens your cardiovascular system, lungs, arms, legs, abdomen, lower back, and buttocks in exchange for this—and additional care with your feet.
A pedometer is a cheap device that counts your steps and can estimate the length and speed of your walks. As a fun and inspiring approach to move more, you might wish to buy one.
A mile is roughly equal to 2,000 steps. To begin, put your pedometer on for two or three days to determine how many steps you currently take while being active. After that, try to progressively boost your daily step count to 10,000.
Walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, is good for your heart and lungs.
If you walk quickly and over hilly terrain, it can be particularly energizing. It is possible to live an active lifestyle by walking, which is a lifelong hobby. If you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes or are not accustomed to exercising, it can also help you ease into more strenuous activity.
For instance, you might be a little concerned that over-vigorous exercise will unbalance your blood glucose levels. After a while of walking, you’ll get the self-assurance, endurance, and fitness needed to try new activities.
You should stroll at a rate that is enjoyable and energizing for you. Some people feel that exercising while walking with hand weights makes the activity more difficult, but before you try it, see your doctor or an exercise physiologist.
A mile can be covered by a seasoned walker in 10–12 minutes. A good target to aim for is a pace of 4 miles per hour, or 15 minutes each mile. A mile may, however, take you 30 minutes to walk in the beginning.
Running and Jogging
Walking will take longer than jogging or running, which will give you a more intense workout. Jogging, however, puts more stress on your joints and feet since each stride you take weighs three to five times as much as you do. Before you begin, make sure to talk to your physician about your running or jogging program. Purchase a quality pair of running shoes as well.
On concrete, do not jog since it is very hard. Instead, try the track at a nearby park or school. Spend some time building up the muscles in your feet and legs to lower the risk of injury. Avoid risking additional harm if you begin to experience any persistent pain, especially in your joints. Rest, take a few days off, or consider going for a stroll.
Walking to Running Transition
Training in Strength
Strength training is beneficial for almost everyone. Whether you’re carrying groceries, using stairs, or doing laundry, having muscles that are in good shape will help you with all of your daily tasks. Strength training can also be used to increase muscle and prevent osteoporosis, especially in elderly individuals. People typically lose muscle mass and tone as they age. Even in your 80s and 90s, lifting weights can increase your strength.
The fact that larger, more toned muscles burn more calories even when you’re not moving is another advantage of weight training. Therefore, a consistent weightlifting program can aid in long-term fat loss and blood glucose control both during and in between exercises.
Strength training safely
After lifting weights, cool down.
There are various methods for lifting weights. For a full workout, the majority of people mix weight training with aerobic activities. Lifting a tiny set of hand weights in your living room can suffice. Or you could wish to join a health club or gym where you can use a variety of weight machines and exercise equipment.
Sets of weightlifting exercises are a staple of most weight-training regimens. A sequence of repeats makes up each set. Perform one set every session when you first begin. Work your way up to three to six sets per session eventually. You’ll discover that you can lift greater weight as your strength increases. As your muscles gain strength, gradually add additional weight.
Goals for Strength Training
Various Other Physical Activities
If you want to become more flexible, consider yoga or aerobics lessons if you enjoy dancing. Senior and community centers may have equipment available or provide lessons that are inexpensive or free. You may test out machines to see if there are any you would use at home by signing up for a free trial membership at a health club.
You might rediscover your passion for volleyball, squash, or tennis. Make sweeping the deck or cleaning the windows an aerobic workout.
Other elements, including the weather, might also have a role in your activity selection. Consider walking indoors at a nearby mall or around your home, for instance, if the weather is too hot or cold to go outside.
Special Precautions for Exercise and Physical Activity
When exercising, you should pay particular attention to your feet, especially if you’ve had diabetes for a time. Most diabetic kids and teenagers don’t have to worry too much about foot issues. Ingrown toenails, blisters, corns, calluses, and red, irritated regions should all be looked for on a daily basis. If an issue is present, don’t anticipate it to disappear on its own. Dial your podiatrist or diabetes specialist right away.
Your choice of activities may be impacted by specific diabetes issues, so always talk to your doctor about safe alternatives.
Exercise and Complications from Diabetes
Regular exercise is a fantastic way to lower blood sugar levels. When you begin exercising, your body uses the glucose that is stored in your muscles and liver as fuel. Afterward, as these reserves are depleted, your muscles take up glucose from your blood. Consequently, your blood glucose levels may decrease during activity.
You don’t want your blood glucose to drop too low if you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes and take insulin with a sulfonylurea.
You are susceptible to hypoglycemia. As your body refills the stores of glucose in your muscles and liver after exercise, your blood glucose levels may also drop. You should watch out for low blood glucose even hours after you’ve finished exercising. People who use insulin or other diabetic treatments are more likely to experience low blood sugar after exercise.
Monitoring Blood Glucose During Exercise and Physical Activity
The way that insulin works can also be impacted by physical activity. Insulin is absorbed by the body differently every day. The absorption of insulin can also be influenced by exercise. Through increased blood flow throughout the body, physical activity hastens the rate at which the insulin you inject starts to operate. For instance, injecting into an arm or leg that is being used for exercise can hasten the absorption of insulin. When exercising, always check your blood glucose levels because insulin has a variety of impacts.
Lows at Night after Exercise
If you work out in the evening, you run the risk of developing hypoglycemia while you’re sleeping. Make careful to monitor your blood sugar levels before bed and possibly while you sleep.
Exercise and Type 1 Diabetes
It’s not entirely clear how exercise affects blood glucose levels in patients with type 1 diabetes. Blood glucose levels should not fluctuate too much in people with type 1 diabetes. This involves being aware of how various activities affect your blood sugar levels. Monitoring frequently—before, during, and after working out—will help you learn this.
Lows during exercising
Stop exercising right away if you feel a low blood glucose reaction coming on. Consume or consume some kind of carbohydrate. Do not deceive yourself into thinking you can go for another five minutes.
With high exercise
If you exercise vigorously or for an extended period of time, you might need to eat during or after. Consider having a snack that is low in fat and contains 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates. Depending on your blood glucose levels, you might need to repeat this snack if you’re really pushing yourself.
You might want to be aware of the direction your blood glucose level is going before you begin exercising. This is particularly true if you are about to begin an activity that you find difficult to stop (such as a long run or windsurfing). During an activity, it might not be practical or possible to check your blood sugar. 90 minutes before you start, consider checking. You might wish to eat a snack to prevent your blood glucose level from falling any lower if monitoring indicates that it is (even if you are still in a safe range).