Sports & exercise

Louis_soccer.JPGMost diabetics can play as good as ordinary people. Athletes, including international Olympic gold-medal winners, pro-golfers and major league ball game players, have all competed while dealing with diabetes at the same time. So whether we want to go for the gold or just go hiking, diabetes shouldn’t be a factor that holds us back.


How exercise helps people with diabetes

Doing all kinds of exercise is good for our health regardless of its nature and intensity. Although developing a new habit can be hard, but exercising on a regular basis can benefit you a great deal. Once you start feeling the benefits, you’ll get hooked. And keeping this habit will be much easier. The most important thing is to bear in mind the facts you need to know about exercise and diabetes.

What happens during exercise?

Muscles need extra energy during exercise and therefore we need more sugar and glucose. For diabetic people, there may be some side effects if the body does not have enough insulin to use the glucose that’s released during exercise. The glucose stays in the blood, which leads to high blood sugar levels, or hyperglycemias.

In the opposite case, not enough insulin to use the sugar can also trigger the body to burn fat for energy. Ketones are produced when fat is used as the source of energy. Check your ketones level before exercise, do not start if the level is high as this can make you feel very sick. Ask your doctor how to check for ketones (we may need to take a urine test before exercising).

Extra use of glucose for energy will lead to low blood sugar levels, or hypoglycaemia. This can occur easily when the body uses up all the sugar in storage while the muscles demand it. This is especially true when insulin levels in the blood are still high after taking an injection. We may need to check our blood sugar levels and have an extra snack to avoid hypos. Sometimes if you want to start a rigorous exercise schedule, like training for a sport, your doctor may give you some recommendations like adjusting our insulin dosage to prevent low blood sugar levels.

Getting ready to exercise

The doctor will let us know about any changes that should be made to our testing schedule or medication while exercising or playing sports. While the doctor is likely to give the green light to any activities we want to start, they may recommend steering clear of certain adventure sports like rock climbing, hang gliding, or scuba diving. Bear this in mind because a person could be seriously hurt if he or she has hypos while doing these demanding sports.

Exercise tips for people with diabetes

These tips can help us avoid diabetes problems during exercise:

Test ourselves. The doctor will tell us when we need to test our glucose levels — often they will need to check them before, during, and after exercise.

Take the right dose of insulin. The doctor might recommend adjusting our insulin dosage for exercise or sports. If injecting insulin, we might not want to inject a part of our body used for sport before exercise (like injecting our leg before soccer). This could cause the insulin to be absorbed too quickly. If wearing an insulin pump, make sure that it won’t be in the way for exercise and that it won’t get disconnected. We should talk to our doctor about what should be done when going without the pump.

Eat right. Our diabetes health care team will also help us adjust our meal plan so we have enough energy for exercise. For example, we might need to eat extra snacks before, during, or after working out. Be sure to maintain the proper diet for diabetes — don’t try strategies like loading up on extra carbohydrates before running or cutting back on food or water to get down to a certain weight for wrestling. These activities can be dangerous for people with diabetes.

Bring snacks and water. Whether we’re playing football at the school or swimming in our backyard, keep snacks and water nearby.

Pack it up. If exercising away from home, we should remember to pack our testing supplies, medications, medical alert bracelet, emergency contact information, and a copy of our diabetes management plan. These should be kept in a special bag that doesn’t have to be packed and repacked every time we go out.

Tell our coaches. Be sure that the coaches know about our diabetes. Tell them about the things we need to do to control diabetes.

Take control. During exercise routine, don’t be shy if you need to take a break to eat a snack, drink water, or go to the bathroom. We should also take a break if we feel any signs that something is wrong.

What we should watch for

The doctors will help us learn what blood sugar levels make it a good or bad time to exercise. He or she will also tell you what to do so that you can get back in the game. If we notice any of the signs listed below, we must stop exercising and follow our diabetes management plan.

We may have low blood sugar if we are:

  • Sweating;
  • Feeling lightheaded, shaky, weak or anxious;
  • Feeling hungry;
  • Having a headache;
  • Having problems concentrating; or
  • Feeling confused.

We may have high blood sugar if we:

  • Feel very thirsty;
  • Have to pee a lot;
  • Feel very tired; or
  • Have blurry vision.

Also, we should keep an eye on any cuts, scrapes, or blisters, and talk to our doctor if they’re really red, swollen, or are oozing pus as these could be signs of an infection.

By being prepared and knowing how to follow our diabetes management plan, we’ll be able to prevent diabetes problems during exercise. After all, even professional athletes also have to follow a strict training and nutrition schedule to keep them in best performances. We should think of our diabetes management plan as our own personal roadmap to exercise success.

 dangerous for people with diabetes.

Bring snacks and water. Whether we’re playing football at the school or swimming in our backyard, keep snacks and water nearby.

Pack it up. If exercising away from home, we should remember to pack our testing supplies, medications, medical alert bracelet, emergency contact information, and a copy of our diabetes management plan. These should be kept in a special bag that doesn’t have to be packed and repacked every time we go out.

Tell our coaches. Be sure that the coaches know about our diabetes. Tell them about the things we need to do to control diabetes.

Take control. During exercise routine, don’t be shy if you need to take a break to eat a snack, drink water, or go to the bathroom. We should also take a break if we feel any signs that something is wrong.

What we should watch for

The doctors will help us learn what blood sugar levels make it a good or bad time to exercise. He or she will also tell you what to do so that you can get back in the game. If we notice any of the signs listed below, we must stop exercising and follow our diabetes management plan.

We may have low blood sugar if we are:

  • Sweating;
  • Feeling lightheaded, shaky, weak or anxious;
  • Feeling hungry;
  • Having a headache;
  • Having problems concentrating; or
  • Feeling confused.

We may have high blood sugar if we:

  • Feel very thirsty;
  • Have to pee a lot;
  • Feel very tired; or
  • Have blurry vision.

Also, we should keep an eye on any cuts, scrapes, or blisters, and talk to our doctor if they’re really red, swollen, or are oozing pus as these could be signs of an infection.

By being prepared and knowing how to follow our diabetes management plan, we’ll be able to prevent diabetes problems during exercise. After all, even professional athletes also have to follow a strict training and nutrition schedule to keep them in best performances. We should think of our diabetes management plan as our own personal roadmap to exercise success.

 

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