Benefits of Exercise
People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise regularly for better
blood glucose control and to reduce the risk of long term complications and cardiovascular diseases.
Muscles which are working use more glucose than those resting. Muscle movement also leads to greater glucose uptake by muscle cells and helps to lower blood glucose levels.
Additional benefits of exercise include a healthier heart, better weight control and stress management. As well as strengthening the cardiovascular system and the body’s muscles, many people exercise to keep fit, lose or maintain a healthy weight, or purely for enjoyment.
A little extra activity can have a lot of benefits, such as improving insulin sensitivity, improving your feeling of wellbeing, controlling your weight, reducing risks of cancer and heart problems and helping strengthen bones as well as muscles.
Frequent and regular physical exercise is recommended for people of all ages as it boosts the immune system and helps protect against conditions such as; heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and other major illnesses.
Hypoglycaemia can occur if a person who is taking blood glucose lowering medication has either eaten too little carbohydrate (fruit, milk, starch) relative to the exercise, taken too much medication relative to the exercise or combined effect of food and medication imbalances relative to the exercise.
If your blood glucose level is less than 5.5 mmol/L prior to exercise, take a carbohydrate snack prior to beginning the exercise.
If your blood glucose level is higher than 5.5 mmol/L before exercise, you may need extra carbohydrates during or following the exercise. Check your blood glucose to see if it dips below 4 mmol/L following exercise.
For long duration or high intensity exercise sessions, carry with you extra carbohydrate snacks, additional carbohydrates are suggested each 30 to 60 minutes of exercise.
Always carry a fast-acting carbohydrate food such as glucose tablets when exercising in the event your blood glucose drops too low and hypoglycaemia symptoms develop during exercise.
People with existing heart problems may need to avoid particularly strenuous activities such as press ups, lifting weights and strenuous cardiovascular exercise such as running.
Any activity that involves getting up quickly may also need to be avoided. If you have cardiovascular problems, always consult your healthcare professional prior to starting an exercise class they can offer advice as to which activities will be most suitable for you.
Wear a form of ID, which identifies you as having diabetes, particularly if you are exercising alone so that others may help you appropriately in the event something unexpected happens.
Ensure that you are wearing adequate footwear. Foot problems can occur when; Shoes fit poorly, socks are not worn or are not absorbent, friction or pressure points develop on feet