Exercise Tips for Diabetics

Exercise can be good for both body and soul, but certain types of conditions require a somewhat different approach to exercise.  Diabetes is one of those conditions.

At Aspire Hospital, we offer the following exercise tips for diabetics:

  1. Talk to your doctor.  Your doctor needs to be consulted before you start or change an exercise routine.
  2. Start slow.  If you have been inactive for a while, you will need to start out with short, 5-10 minute workouts and work your way up to about 30 minutes per day, five days a week.
  3. Check your blood sugar frequently.  You will need to check your blood sugar both before and after workouts and, if you are doing a longer workout, possibly during.  Note: if you are insulin-dependent, you are at higher risk of becoming hypoglycemic, so you will need to check your blood sugar more frequently and make sure you have easy access to carbohydrate snacks (or glucose tabs) or carbohydrate drinks (juice or sports drinks) in case your blood sugar gets too low.
  4. Take care of your feet.  Diabetics sometimes have nerve damage in their extremities, especially their feet, so they may not feel foot injuries that can cause long-term problems.  Be sure that when exercising that you are wearing well-fitting socks and shoes, and that the shoes have the proper support for the activity you are performing.  Also be sure to check your feet both before and after workouts for bruises, blisters, or sores, since you may not feel them or realize you have them otherwise.
  5. Stay hydrated.  Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
  6. Make a schedule.  Try to eat, take your meds, and exercise at around the same time each day if possible, because your body adjusts its rhythms to that schedule, so you are less likely to have your blood sugar spike too high or drop too low.
  7. Bring a friend.  Try to exercise with someone who knows you have diabetes and knows how to respond to any problems you may have, and wear something that indicates your condition (like a medical alert bracelet) just in case.

Exercise can be fun and have many physical as well as psychological benefits for those suffering from diabetes, as long as the proper precautions are taken and your condition is taken into account.

For more information, please contact Aspire Hospital today.