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Diabetes Health Center

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Taking Care of Your Diabetes Every Day

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise is good for those with diabetes. Walking, swimming, dancing, riding a bicycle, playing baseball, and bowling are all good ways to exercise. You can even get exercise when you clean house or work in your garden. Exercise is especially good for people with diabetes because:

1. Exercise helps keep weight down.

2. Exercise helps insulin work better to lower blood sugar.

3. Exercise is good for your heart and lungs.

4. Exercise gives you more energy.

Before you begin exercising, talk with your doctor. Your doctor may check your heart and your feet to be sure you have no special problems. If you have high blood pressure or eye problems, some exercises like weight-lifting may not be safe. Your doctor or nurse will help you find safe exercises.

Try to exercise regularly. Exercise at least three times a week for about 30 to 45 minutes each time. If you have not exercised in a while, begin slowly. Start with five to 10 minutes, and then work up to more time.

If you haven't eaten for over an hour or if your blood sugar is less than 100-120, eat or drink something like an apple or a glass of milk before you exercise.

When you exercise, carry a snack with you in case of low blood sugar. Wear or carry an identification tag or card saying that you have diabetes.

Regular exercise such as walking and bicycling can help keep your blood sugar in a good range.

Action Steps...

If You Use Insulin

  • Exercise after eating, not before.
  • Test your blood sugar before, during, and after exercising. Don't exercise when your blood sugar is over 240.
  • Avoid exercise right before you go to sleep, because it could cause low blood sugar during the night.

If You Don't Use Insulin

  • See your doctor before starting an exercise program.
  • Test your blood sugar before and after exercising if you take diabetes pills.

Take Your Diabetes Medicine Every Day

Insulin and diabetes pills and injections (Byetta, Symlin, or Victoza) are the kinds of medicines used to lower blood sugar.

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