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Exercise With Diabetes: Tips for Working Out

You may have heard exercise helps you burn extra sugar in your body and that it can make your body more sensitive to insulin, which is a good thing. It’s true! Exercise can also bust stress and boost your mood and overall health. Here’s how to get moving, ideally 30 minutes a day.

Exercise Safely

  • Get your doctor’s OK before starting an exercise program. Make sure your doctor reviews your diabetes drugs.
  • Carry at least 15 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate in case of low blood sugar. It might be a half-cup of fruit juice, 5 hard candies, or glucose tablets or gels that equal 15 grams.
  • Wear well-fitting shoes that are for the activity you’re doing, and choose athletic polyester socks. They dry quicker and cause less friction than all-cotton socks.
  • Inspect your feet before and after exercise. Check for blisters or sores.
  • Drink plenty of fluid before, during, and after exercise.
  • Wear a medical ID bracelet or carry a medical ID in your pocket.
  • Check your blood sugar level before and after exercise to make sure it’s in your target range. Your doctor can tell you what it should be before you start exercising. This is very important if you take insulin. After an intense workout or exercising for a long time, you may want to eat something with at least 5 grams of carbohydrates within 2 hours. This will help you avoid low blood sugar.
  • If you become shaky, anxious, or more sweaty than usual, or feel a change in your heartbeat, stop exercising right away and check your blood sugar. If it is low, follow your doctor’s advice about how to treat it.
  • Always warm up for 5 to 10 minutes at the start of your workout. For instance, walk or bike slowly. Do 5 to 10 minutes of cool-down and gentle stretching at the end.

Quick Gym-Free Workouts

Anything that gets your heart pumping and makes you break a sweat will do. You don’t need a health club membership or personal trainer. And here’s a little secret: You don’t have to do 30 minutes all at once. Ten minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the afternoon, and 10 minutes after dinner is just fine.