I Have Diabetes—Should I Exercise?

I Have Diabetes—Should I Exercise?

Diabetes is a metabolic condition that has been on the rise in recent decades due to poor eating habits and metabolic profiles.  Recent estimates show that at least 9.3 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes and this number is sure to rise given the high prevalence of obesity among younger adults and children.

There are two common types of diabetes that everyone ought to know.  Type I diabetes is commonly diagnosed early in life and is also called “insulin-dependent” diabetes. Many individuals with type I diabetes are born with the condition and often need to be on insulin in order to properly manage blood sugar.  The other common form is type II diabetes, which is generally referred to as “adult-onset” diabetes.  The general names for these two forms are now a thing of the past.  Today, it is common for young kids, adults, and anyone to have adult-onset (type II) diabetes, so work with your Phoenix personal trainer to help you get healthy through regular physical activity.

Exercise and Diabetes: Risk Factors

Physical activity is a well-known and effective use for controlling and regulating blood glucose levels.  However, while exercise is good to help with blood glucose health, there are some associated risks you ought to be aware of.

  • Low Blood Sugar. It is easy for diabetics to have low blood sugar with exercise because using insulin and exercising provide similar effects on the body.  When you take insulin after a meal, your glucose makes its way into cells.  Similarly, sugar in your body is used and fed to your cells and muscles during exercise.  Both types I and II diabetics should be educated on how to use insulin when exercising and even if you are taking a pill to help manage your blood sugar, it is wise to know how the medication affects your blood sugar levels. After discussing with your doctor how to safely use your insulin for exercise, consult with your Phoenix personal trainer for more information on how to set up your program.
  • Exercise Intensity. This goes hand-in-hand with the one above, but high-intensity exercise can drain your glycogen and sugar levels faster than ever.  For diabetics, this could translate into a nightmare and can cause complications if not monitored closely.  If you decide to perform high-intensity training, consider consulting with your doctor or pharmacist prior to doing so.
  • Low Energy. There may come a time that both types I and II diabetics become fatigued or tired during exercise, more so than usual.  This is not generally something that can cause problems, but if you have diabetes, you need to know.  Endurance training and weight training can cause you to fatigue rapidly to the point to where your muscles give out.  If you have diabetes, you will want to monitor how you feel throughout your workout.
  • Dehydration.  Diabetes can cause your body to become dehydrated through frequent bouts of urination and through cellular changes that seep water from your vital cells in the body.  Make sure to keep water with you and sip as necessary.  Exercise can cause dehydration in a hurry so combining exercise and diabetes is a mixture that can cause health problems in a hurry.

The Benefits of Exercise for Diabetics

Now that you are aware of some of the risks, you can look into how to improve your life.  Listed below are some of the most important benefits of exercising when you have diabetes.

  • Reduce blood pressure. Why does your blood pressure matter when you have diabetes?  Having diabetes plus high blood sugar can place you at an increased risk of a stroke.  With daily exercise, you are giving your body a good chance at reducing blood pressure and reducing stroke risk.
  • Control blood sugar. Exercise and physical activity can help to regulate your blood sugar levels to the point to where you may be at normal ranges again.  The key is timing your exercise and studies suggest that 20-minutes of exercise after a meal can help to prevent diabetes progression among those who are diagnosed.
  • Reduce Fat. The fat around your abdomen is not just an aesthetics issue; it is something that contributes to diabetes and heart disease, another disease that women are commonly   When the body has more tucked in around the waistline, you are more likely to have problems managing your blood sugar levels.  Also, insulin is a lipogenic compound, meaning the more insulin in your body circulating in the blood, the more fat you tend to create and store.  Regular exercise can help to reduce blood glucose stores, and secondarily, help to reduce fat in your body by ridding insulin.
  • Efficiency.  Exercise is a great way to improve your insulin sensitivity.  For type II diabetics, this means that the insulin you release becomes more effective.  Resistance training is known to increase the amount of GLUT-4 receptors in your body (which are produced on the muscles) and the more GLUT-4 receptors you have, the more sugar you take in for less insulin being released.  This is a manageable thing to accomplish and it only takes 30 minutes per day to achieve.  Every time your muscles contract; consider thinking that your insulin gets more efficient with every rep.

How to Get Started

One of the best ways to get started working out with diabetes is to schedule a consult with a personal trainer.  Studies have shown that personal trainers can help to reduce short-term and long-term A1C levels among individuals with diabetes.  For those getting started, it is recommended to exercise 30 minutes per day for at least five days per week and if you are new to exercise, keep with the five days, but consider 15-20 minutes (or whatever your body can handle) and work your way up to 30 minutes every day.  Keep a regular routine and stick with a personal trainer to help guide you through a safe and effective training program.




About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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