Today we are going to discuss diabetes and how it relates to exercise.
As most of us know diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired. This results in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood.
According to the Diabetes Research Institute, diabetes affects more than 422 million people worldwide. Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke.
How does this relate to exercise? Well everybody benefits from regular exercise. For a person with diabetes exercise has a lot of benefits, it helps:
• Insulin to work better, which will improve your diabetes management
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Lower your blood pressure
• Reduce your risk of heart disease
• Reduce stress
Before commencing a regular exercise program see your doctor for a full medical examination. Initially take it slow – you don’t want to start off too hard, if you are not used to the exercise! Over time, you can slowly increase the intensity of the exercise.
Warning- Don’t take part in strenuous physical activity if you are feeling unwell or have ketones present in your blood or urine.
If you have any diabetes complications like retinopathy, nephropathy, you should talk to your doctor or an accredited exercise physiologist before you start increasing the intensity of your exercise.
What exercise to do?
Anything that gets you moving. Here are some suggestions for you to discuss with your doctor:
• Cycling/ exercise bike
• Weight training
• Water aerobics
Amount and intensity of exercise
Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise program. For good health, exercise 30 minutes every day. If this is not possible, divide your exercise into 3 x 10 minutes sessions a day.
If you need to lose weight, 45-60 minutes every day.
Aim for moderate intensity. This means you should still be able to talk as you exercise without becoming breathless.