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Exercising with Diabetes
Diabetes is characterized by the body's inability to either produce or properly use insulin, which is the hormone needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy for the body. Without insulin, the sugar builds up in the blood rather than being transported into the muscles and other cells for energy. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves, and/or heart. The cause of diabetes is unknown, but genetics and physical health factors such as obesity and physical inactivity play a role in developing this disease. To prevent diabetes, maintain a healthy body weight, focus on good nutrition and exercise most days of the week.
Tips for exercising with diabetes:
- Consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program or significantly increasing activity.
- Be sure to monitor your blood sugar before AND after exercise. If your sugar is below 100mg/dl or above 300mg/dl, DO NOT exercise.
- Perform 30-60 minutes of low-to-moderate exercise most days of the week; depending on medication, perceived exertion might be used to monitor intensity.
- Always carry some type of sugar, your medical ID tag, and a water bottle with you while exercising.
- Wear good athletic shoes and socks to reduce friction and "hot spots" on your feet; thoroughly inspect your feet after exercise.
- Avoid exercising at night because your blood sugar can continue to decrease, increasing your risk of hypoglycemia while you are sleeping.
- Do not exercise if you are ill, have an infection, or are experiencing eye/vision problems.
- Use caution if exercising in extreme temperatures (hot and cold).
Page last modified September 14, 2010