If exercise were a pill it would be one of the most effective medicines ever invented.
Medical research tells us that if people on insulin exercise regularly, they could dramatically reduce their risk of
- Heart attacks and strokes
- Some cancers
- Sepression and anxiety, as well as
- Many other serious medical conditions
The bottom line
- Exercise makes sense
- Exercise is good for mental and physical well-being, and
- Everyone can participate in and enjoy exercise
There are two main types of exercise:
1. Aerobic exercise uses large groups of muscles contracting at relatively low rates, meaning it can be maintained for a long time. Examples are:
- Cycling, swimming, jogging, fast walking.
2. Anaerobic exercise happens when there is a higher rate of muscle contractions in a shorter period of time. Examples are:
- Sprinting, resistance training and weightlifting.
3. Racquet sports such as tennis, squash and badminton, or even non-racquet sports such as soccer, have elements of Anaerobic and Aerobic activity.
Put simply, exercise means raising your heart rate and breathing rate and sometimes breaking a sweat.
You can check if you are ready for exercise:
This questionnaire will tell you whether it is necessary for you to seek further advice from your doctor OR a qualified exercise professional before becoming more physically active.
Many people with type 1 diabetes spend years avoiding exercise because of concerns over losing control of blood sugar levels (especially increasing the risk of severe hypos). Others worry about their ability to perform exercise and suffer from feelings of shame and embarrassment… Don’t!
Some exercise is always better than no exercise! Try increasing your heart rate and breathing rate by doing something achievable AND enjoyable such as gardening, dancing, golfing, walking the dog, swimming, kickboxing, etc.
Walking for about 20-30 minutes post meal is one way to help prevent your blood sugar from climbing too high after a meal and you may not have to make any adjustments in your diet or mealtime insulin. Overall, your goal should be to get at least 150 minutes of total physical activity/exercise each week.
For people living with diabetes and using insulin, exercise makes sense and can be safe and fun.
If you are unsure how your body may respond, and/or if you fall within any of the below categories, speaking with a health professional is the best first course of action.
Specifically, be sure to speak with your doctor or nurse if you:
- Are above 35 years old
- Have had diabetes for more than 10 years
- Have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart problems
- Or have had diabetes related complications that has affected your eyes, kidneys, nervous system, or large blood vessels.
Talking this over with professionals can help you plan the type, intensity and duration of exercise that will be best for you!
They are likely to ask you what you hope to get from regular exercise.
There could be many reasons, such as:
- Better control of your diabetes
- Weight management or weight loss
- Taking part in competitions
- Social aspects
- Being happy with the way you look
- Improving your overall fitness
Low = Hypoglycemia
High = Hyperglycemia
Ex-Carbs = Carbohydrates for exercise
“Review” means checking your glucose levels (with a glucose meter or continuous glucose monitor [CGM]) before, during and after exercise.