An effective fitness program is essential for people with diabetes to maintain optimum health. Include exercise in your daily diabetes self-management program to feel better and reduce the risk of health complications. Consider a few simple ways keep up with your fitness program and have fun doing it.
- People with diabetes need physical activity, a healthy meal plan and should take medicines according to the schedule prescribed by a doctor. Being physically active can help lower your blood glucose level, blood pressure and bad cholesterol as well as raise your good cholesterol. Exercise can keep your bones, joints and heart healthier. You may lose weight, get rid of body fat and have more energy. Regular exercise also helps reduce your stress levels.
- You don’t need expensive equipment to start working out. Consider investing in a workout DVD to get started. Take a walk each day. Do basic stretching exercises before and after your walk. Use two soup cans as weights for light strength training. If you prefer, you can join a gym or purchase a workout machine for your home. Choose a workout routine you can stick to. Try to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week. You can even break it up into 3 brisk 10-minute walks. For example, take a short walk after each meal. If you exercise outside, have a back-up plan for inclement weather. Sometimes an exercise buddy can help keep you motivated.
- Include physical activity in your daily routine. Take your dog for a walk, clean the house and play with the kids. Walk or stand while on the phone instead of sitting. Rake the leaves, mow the lawn and walk down each aisle of the grocery store. Take a walk during your lunch break. Park further away at the shopping center and choose the stairs over an elevator. There are plenty of ways to be physically active all day long.
- Before you start exercising, consult with your doctor about your physical fitness plan. Have the doctor check your feet for sores, blisters and numbness. Wear diabetes socks and well-fitting shoes. After exercising, check your feet for sores, cuts, redness or bumps. Report any irregularities to your doctor right away.
- Be prepared for low blood glucose during or after you exercise. Symptoms include being tired, weak, cranky, shaky or hungry. Check your blood sugar before and after exercising. Monitor and record the results to see how exercise affects your body. If your blood glucose level is under 100, have a snack with carbohydrates prior to exercise. Carry glucose tablets or food when you exercise to treat low blood glucose. Carry ID and wear a medical identification tag when you exercise.
- Use a blood pressure cuff at home to monitor your blood pressure before and after exercise. Slowly increase your pace each day. An ongoing exercise program can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and related complications.
Including fitness into your daily routine is easy when you consider the wealth of benefits it offers. Start slowly, build up your pace and engage in activities you enjoy. Regular exercise can have a positive impact on your overall health and well-being.