Eating right and leading an active lifestyle can have positive impacts on your blood glucose levels. Moderate exercise and regular daily activities are advocated for patients with diabetes. Doing so is not only good for general health, in the longer term moving and activity has many benefits on the mind and body. A more active lifestyle is a contributing factor in:
Bear in mind you must consult your doctor or healthcare professional before commencing your exercise plan to discuss and create an ideal, realistic schedule based on your needs. Activities don’t have to be a strain, make them enjoyable!
Begin by visiting your doctor or a member of your diabetes healthcare team. This is an important step as you want to be setting yourself smart, realistic, personal goals based on your body type, daily schedule, physical capabilities, and what you want to accomplish overall. Your doctor may perform a physical examination to assist with planning the intensity of your program.
An activity program that is enjoyable will keep you motivated, stay on track, and help avoid the occasional barrier to your goals. Depending on how manageable your physical health is at the moment, you may decide to take up less or more strenuous type activities however the key is to always start slow and work your way up. Speak with your healthcare professional when discussing the activities that best suit your individual treatment plan.
Fundamentally if you are not enjoying what you are doing, exercise will seem time consuming, difficult and a boring task throughout the day. Make your activities fun to do by involving the people around you. Some low cost tips include:
- Playing sport in the park with family and friends
- Regular walks in the neighbourhood changing your routes
- Programs at your community centre
- Dancing or aerobics
Start by being activity smart and making a log of what you do. Recording your activity will not only make you feel proud of what was accomplished but will reveal patterns of improvement and where to adjust.
Warming up and cooling down should be essential elements of your routine. Stretching before and after will help prevent any injury from occurring. Exercise safety is key – always carry your medical identification and medication list when exercising, be sure to drink lots of water, bring a snack just in case, and ensure you carry your blood glucose meter with you to test your blood glucose levels.
It is ideal to check your blood glucose levels before and after your routine and documenting your levels. Be aware of how you feel during activities, and if you feel symptoms of weakness, hunger, vision changes, or dizziness, you can take charge and be prepared to treat any symptoms. Regular monitoring of your blood glucose is imperative when in moving or performing activities.