Exercise – The Essential 17 Tips for People With Diabetes

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Exercise has been proven to be generally beneficial for health- more so if you are diabetic. The following exercise tips will help you ease into exercise, stick with it for the long term whilst enjoying it at the same time.

1. Talk to your diabetes healthcare team

Before starting an exercise regimen, it is important to get input from your diabetes health care team. This team will give you invaluable advice on what you need to do, the exercises you should go for and the duration. This is important as diabetic condition and energy needs may differ slightly from person to person. Your diabetes health care team will also give you precautionary advise on what you should avoid, warning signs to look out for and how to get the best out of your exercise regimen.

2. Start

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Yes, start. This should probably be the number one tip of the bunch if not that the state of a person’s general health may need to be assessed before starting an exercise program. If you don’t exercise or have a regular exercise regimen the prospect of suddenly starting one may be a little bit daunting. Nevertheless, you need to start. You may start of slowly though so that you don’t take on too much and then be discouraged when you are unable to meet your set goals.

3. Get a Pedometer

This trick has been shown to be invaluable in getting people to reach their daily exercise goals. In a Stanford university review of 26 studies looking at the use of pedometers as motivation for physical activity, it was found that people who used a pedometer increased their activity by 27 %. Even though some did not reach the 10,000 steps (about 5 miles) target, they were able to walk further with the target and pedometer than they would otherwise have done without it. Pedometer users had a great drop in blood pressure, decreased their HbA1c level, fasting blood glucose level, lost more weight and walked about 2,500 steps more per day than those who didn’t use a pedometer.

4. Make a list of fun physical activities to do

Let’s face it, following a specific fitness plan day in day out can be pretty boring. Why not spice that up by making a list of some fun physical activities you can do or have always wanted to try out. Dancing, sports, swimming, hiking, biking… all of these count as physical activities that you can integrate into your diabetes exercise fitness regimen.

5. Check your Blood Sugar.

You may need to do this before, during and after exercise to avoid the risk of hypoglycemia. Ask your doctors take on this. Knowing you well, he will be able to advise on whether you need to and in accordance with the activities you have scheduled as part of the regimen, when, how many times and the duration of time before each checkup.

6. Strength training-make it at least twice a week

Research shows that in purely scientific terms, strength training yields better results per unit of time than aerobics exercises. The best results is however gotten by a combination of the two. Since the effects of strength training; improved blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity can last for up to 72 hours after the initial exercise, it is advisable that in order to attain its full benefits, in a 7 day week, resistance training should be done at least twice to ensure the continual cycle of this exercise benefits. Resistance training can be done using resistance bands, weights or your body weight-pushups, pull ups, chin ups, etc.

7. Carry carbohydrates

To avoid the danger of low blood sugar during exercise, carry with you a small carbohydrate snack like a drink or fruit.

8. Exercise with a friend

Doing so is an excellent motivator, especially if s/he is aware of your exercise targets. This will help you stay on track as they encourage you to reach your goals and accordingly achieve the associated health benefits faster.

9. Break down number of exercise minutes into sets if necessary

It is not compulsory you do your recommended number of 30 exercise minutes per day all at once. No, so far as you are totaling the figure, breaking it up into manageable portions is just fine. The same health benefits that accrue to the single stretch has also been shown to apply to the breakdowns.

10. Don’t do too much at once-set specific attainable goals

Start slow and finish strong. How often have we heard this when we are about to start some exercise or sports related regimen. But it’s true, especially if you are new to a particular program requiring greater exertion than you are ordinarily used to. To avoid burn out, disappointment, injury and ensure persistence, set specific attainable goals. If your target number of minutes of exercise per day is 30 and you hardly ordinarily do 10, then there is no reason why you can’t start with 15 or 20 then gradually increase it to 30 as you grow stronger. The same thing applies to your use of resistance training tools like dumbbells and weights.

11. Drink water

Before, during and after each exercise session. Keeping your system hydrated is essential to proper functioning of and overall health of the body system.

12. Use appropriate foot wear

Wear sports shoes that are appropriate for the type of activity you do. For instance avoid jogging in tennis shoes as your feet requires a different type of support for this activity.

13. Make a habit of it

Eat, exercise and take your medicines at the same time each day. This will not only help prevent low blood sugar but also enable your body become accustomed to your routine.

14. Reward yourself

Another motivational cue. This will encourage you to strive for that final goal, get up and get going when you want to procrastinate. However don’t focus on the negatives that can happen if you don’t exercise. Instead focus on the positives- you get to have more energy, improves your mood. Other reward types could be, you go to the cinema to watch a much wanted film.

15. Stop if you experience sudden pain

Mild soreness during or after a workout is normal. What isn’t is sharp sudden pain. Stop if you experience this and seek immediate medical help.

16. Keep a work out journal

This will enable you monitor your progress and encourage you to strive towards your goal.

17. Use Cues

These may be visual like a note pasted by your bedside lamp or your exercise sweat shirt hung on your ward robe door the night before. It can even be an audio reminder like a clock or phone app set to wake you up with an exercise reminder on your exercise days.

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