People with diabetes are encouraged to exercise regularly for better blood sugar control and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, there are safety precautions diabetics should take while exercising.
• Start at a moderate level and build up exercise intensity. This allows the body to become used to the activity.
• Keep an eye on blood sugar levels. One should check them frequently before and after exercise, especially if one is new to it. Exercise affects everyone’s blood sugar differently. Make a log and track blood sugar levels daily. This can provide insight as to how exercise generally affects each person’s blood sugar.
• Bring a snack. Keep a snack of fast-acting carbohydrates on hand in case blood sugar drops low.
• Do not exercise if blood sugar is low or too high. If blood sugar is lower than 100 mg/dl or higher than250-300 mg/dl, exercise can make it easier for sugar levels to go into dangerous territory. Wait until blood sugar level is in a better range before exercising.
• Wear a form of ID, which helps identify diabetes, especially if exercising alone and something unexpected happens.
Finally, before beginning any exercise routines, consult with a physical therapist. He or she will be able to discuss appropriate exercises and provide insight into how it may affect medication effectiveness.