Is diabetes stopping you from exercising? I ask you this because so many times people have commented on my instagram posts or they have emailed me saying that they avoid exercise because they really fear the hypos that come may come as a result of it. This makes me sad because exercise is so important, not only for the body but for your mind too. Plus, it’s fun. I mean, I do get where the fear comes from because, yes, lows can be horrible and they can become apparent as a result of exercise if it is not controlled the right way. Also, people who haven’t exercised in a while are bound to feel apprehensive. I have witnessed this amongst none diabetic people too. But, this should not stop you from exercising. So, in the hopes to get your body moving again, this post offers the necessary tips to guide you through getting back into an exercise regime.
Start off Slow
If I were to take on a client who was frightened of a hypoglycemia, the last thing I would do is tell them to go to the gym straight away. Instead, I would provide a workout for them to do at home where they feel comfortable. That way, checking blood sugar is really quick, easy and private; also, stopping to treat a low would not be a problem. Judging by the rise or fall of the blood glucose throughout this session I would then make some manipulations to the insulin for the next session. If a trainer isn’t an option for you you can go to YouTube where you will find millions of at home workouts. They don’t need to be specific to diabetics either, try anything you think looks like fun.
Look at Instagram
There are thousands of fit diabetics who are eager to share their insulin manipulation strategies with you. They are proud to have conquered something so challenging that they would more than likely bite your hand off to answer your questions. Including me, I’m one of them which is why I’m writing this blog. If you look at the people Type 1 Active follows on instagram you will find a few people who keep me motivated.
Log the Effect of All Exercise
Once you get into the swing of things you might want to venture out a bit further with your exercises. If you start off with power walking a couple of times a week, maybe you could add a weight training session or a dance class. If you do, make sure you mark down the difference it has on your blood sugar in comparison to the walking. I have different basal settings for yoga, contemporary dance, pole dance, cycling, jogging, circuit training, weight training and walking. It’s like second nature to me because I do it all the time. However, I don’t get comfortable so the monitoring process still continues because diabetes is fairly unpredictable and takes a few goes to get right.
More important than anything else, you have to be patient. Don’t give up after two sessions. When I was first diagnosed I had a dance class to attend to the next day where I experienced my first hypo. It was horrendous, but I drank some lucozade and got on with it. Then the next time this happened I knew something would have to change which is why I closely started monitoring my food intake before the exercise and manipulating the bolus accordingly.
Eventually you will get to the place where you don’t even have to think too much about it and the only time you will have to readjust is if you are changing your eating plan, your exercise type / frequency or the time or day you do it. Timing is also very crucial so watch out. Morning usually mean more insulin for me, but this may be different for you.
If you need help with training and nutrition, check out my online training programmes that are personalised to suit you.