Our Tips for Exercising with Diabetes

Tips for exercise and diabetes | EmPower Exercise Physiology

Regular exercise is not only helpful in improving our overall health and wellbeing, it is also extremely beneficial in the management of diabetes.
Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for diabetes, however, regular exercise has been shown to be highly effective in managing this condition.

Exercise can improve the way our muscles respond to insulin, assisting with keeping blood glucose levels within the normal ranges for up to 48hrs after a single bout of exercise! Even further, exercise helps to control our blood glucose levels independent of insulin. In the long-term, this helps to decrease the risk of a number of diabetes related complications, including heart disease, kidney problems, and stroke.

Getting started with exercise can be tough, especially if you do not have much experience. So here are a few useful hints to help get you started.

How much exercise should I be doing?

The amount of physical activity that’s right for you will depend on a number of different factors, including your current level of health and fitness. However, it is generally recommended that you do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, in addition to your normal daily activities.

What types of exercise should I be doing?

Simply put, the best exercise you should be doing is the one that you enjoy the most, as this will help keep you motivated and help keep exercise a regular part of your routine long into the future.

It is important to include a range of different activities as part of your routine to ensure you are targeting multiple aspects of your health and fitness. Including a combination of aerobic exercises, such as walking, cycling, dancing and swimming, as well as some resistance training, such as weights or body-weight exercises, is highly recommended. Make sure you aim for at least 2x resistance sessions per week.

If you are unsure what types of exercise are suitable and safe for you, make sure you have a chat with your GP and an Accredited Exercise Physiologist before getting started.

Special considerations

  • If you are new to exercise, or, if you are starting a new exercise regime, it is recommended that you monitor your blood glucose levels before, during and after exercise to gain an insight into how your body responds to exercise.
  • Aim to exercise at the same time each day. Earlier in the morning is generally recommended, as this avoids peak insulin action.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and check your feet daily.
  • Do not exercise if you feel unwell.
  • If you take insulin or certain diabetes medications, make sure you bring some carbohydrate rich foods or fluids with you when you exercise.
    If your glucose levels are >15mmol/L it is generally advised to avoid vigorous exercise. Have a chat with your GP or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist for individualised advice.
  • If you have gestational diabetes (or have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are pregnant) you will need to take extra care when exercising. Ask for an exercise plan that’s also suitable during pregnancy.
  • Before beginning a new exercise regime, it is recommended that you talk with your GP or an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to ensure the exercise you are performing is suitable and safe.

If you need help and inspiration to establish a regular exercise regime then our Diabetes Group Program might be perfect for you. This program is a group exercise and lifestyle program for people living with or at risk of diabetes. Click HERE (link to Diabetes Group Program Page) or get in touch with us for more info.

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