November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and regardless of the type of diabetes one might have, regular physical activity is extremely important for overall health and wellness. The good news is that steps can be taken to prevent or manage diabetes and lower chances of developing heart disease. Knowing how the body and the blood sugar responds to activity prevents the blood sugar from going too high or too low.
With type 1 diabetes, it’s important to balance insulin doses with food and activity (even house and yard work) to prevent low blood sugar. Here are a few tips to prevent low blood sugar:
- Test blood sugar before you start an exercise
- Record the intensity and length of time of the exercise
- Note any changes made to insulin doses
If your blood sugar is trending down before a workout or less than 100 mg/dl, having a pre-exercise snack containing carbohydrate and protein like a half of a peanut butter sandwich is not only a good idea, but is required. Be prepared with quick access to carbohydrate food, drink or glucose tablets to quickly raise a low blood sugar is critical. If one wears a pump, lowering the basal rate during exercise may also be helpful to prevent a low blood sugar. Blood sugar can also run high during or after exercise if the intensity of the exercise increases stress hormones. If the blood sugar is high (250 mg/dl or greater) before starting exercise, check your blood or urine for ketones, and if positive, avoid vigorous activity. If no ketones are present, exercising should be fine.
With any type of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or pre-diabetes), it is crucial to limit the amount of time spent sitting. And what are you usually doing while sitting? Staring at a screen! Screen time in front of devices like television, computers, video games, tablets and smart phones has been linked to higher blood sugar levels, while physical activity is linked to lower A1c levels and healthier hearts. The American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes recommends breaking up sitting time every 30 minutes.
Benefits of Exercise
The added benefits of exercise for people with diabetes is well documented. It lowers blood sugar levels, boosts insulin sensitivity, counteracts insulin resistance and promotes a positive feeling in the body. The great news is that exercise can be a lifetime key to diabetes prevention as well as diabetes control! Your Wellview Healthcare team can help you find a balance between activity, food and medication, or determine the best exercise for any type of diabetes. Wellview’s Registered Dietitians, Certified Diabetes Educators and Personal Trainers are ready to support you! Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– SHERREE TELFORD, RD LDN CDE CHWC
Director of Specialized Solutions | Email Sherree