Exercise & Diabetes

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Regular exercise is important for the management of both types of diabetes. It helps in the following ways :

  • Improves the utilization of sugar by the tissues and therefore lowers blood sugar levels.
  • Burns calories thereby preventing obesity.
  • Increases blood levels of HDL (high density lipoproteins) thereby preventing heart attack and stroke. cholesterol which is beneficial for heart, thereby preventing heart attack and stroke.
  • Improves the level of general fitness.

Important guidelines for exercise :

  • Aerobic exercises (like walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and aerobic dances) are the best.
  • Involve yourself in some sports like tennis, badminton. Do not play with the idea of competition but for fun and exercise.
  • For middle aged people a brisk walk is a simple and suitable exercise.
  • If a complication like heart attack occurs, walking still holds good. Start with a minimum amount of walking and increase it gradually.
  • Children with diabetes should be encouraged to lead a normal life but within the framework of restrictions imposed due to diabetes.
  • Do not exercise when the blood sugar is likely to be lowe.g. on empty stomach or when there is a long interval after the previous meal.
  • Always keep a packet of sugar and some carbohydrate snacks while going out for exercise, so that you can take them at the first warning symptom of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Blood glucose levels can swing dramatically during exercise in diabetes. Hence always monitor your blood glucose levels carefully before, during, and after exercises. Delay exercise if blood glucose is over 250 mg/dl or under 100 mg/dl.