Thursday, June 19, 2008

Being active is one of the best ways to keep diabetes under control. Here, what you need to know about starting an exercise routine.

Many diabetics take pills and shots to keep their blood-sugar levels stable, but exercise is another important way to help control diabetes. Before starting a new fitness routine, diabetics should schedule an appointment with their doctor to discuss safety guidelines and to have their blood pressure, cholesterol, kidneys, eyes, and feet checked.

Tailor your workout to your health. Diabetes affects everyone differently. For example, if you have eye trouble, you may want to keep your workout inside. If you have nerve issues in your feet, swimming may be a better aerobic exercise than walking or biking. Talk to your health-care professional about which activities are best for your needs.

DonÂ’t rush it. Unless youÂ’re in a competition for a reality TV show, frequent, intense workouts could do more harm than good. Start by walking at a steady pace. Rate your workout intensity by how easily you take breaths. If youÂ’re constantly out of breath, slow it down. As your body gets stronger, increase your workout time by five to 10 minutes each week.

Warm up. Stretching and light movement help prepare the muscles for the work to come, preventing overexertion and pain.

Stay hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water before, during, and after your workout to keep your body hydrated. Water is all you need in most cases, but if you plan to work out for more than an hour or so, the extra sugars in sports drinks will provide energy, too.

Dress properly. DonÂ’t try to sweat off the pounds. Losing water weight is unhealthy, and it increases your chances of overheating. Wear lightweight clothes in summer, and layer your clothes in winter. ItÂ’s best not to exercise outside if it is too hot or too cold.

Pay attention to your feet. Diabetics need to take special care of their feet. Wear the correct shoes for each activity to help prevent the nerve problems associated with diabetes. Be sure to check your feet after exercise, and call your doctor if you notice any problems.

Monitor your blood glucose levels. Glucose fuels your muscles, and exercise stimulates insulin, so some diabetics are at risk for low blood-glucose levels. Check your glucose levels before and after your workout. If you work out for longer than 30 minutes, be prepared to check while you exercise, too. Use this system to monitor how exercise affects your body. Try to time your workouts according to meals and insulin intake, as itÂ’s generally best to work out 1 to 3 hours after a meal.


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