I have Diabetes, will exercising reduce my blood sugar levels too much so I have a hypoglycaemic episode?
Everybody benefits from regular exercise. If you have diabetes, or are at risk of diabetes it plays an important role in keeping you healthy. Exercise does reduce your blood sugar levels as the insulin is being more effective, but making sure you take a few easy steps will reduce your risk of having a hypoglycaemic episode. Few easy tips to get the most out of exercise with Diabetes:
- Have appropriate meals prior to exercise, e.g. Breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
- Monitor your blood glucose levels before, if possible during (if you are having any symptoms of low blood sugar), and after exercise to assess your requirements for extra food.
- Drink extra fluid before, during and after exercise to avoid dehydration. The fluid may be water or a sweetened drink if extra carbohydrate is required. 250 ml every 15 minutes or one litre of fluid per hour is recommended.
- Take extra carbohydrates before and during exercise to prevent hypoglycaemia. Extra carbohydrate is often needed after exercise. Discuss adjusting carbohydrate intake with your doctor or dietitian.
- It may be necessary to reduce your insulin dose prior to exercise. Insulin adjustment varies with each individual. Discuss appropriate adjustments to suit your exercise schedule with your doctor.
What are the benefits of exercise for people with type 2 Diabetes?
Exercise benefits people in many different ways, listed below are a few benefits specific to people with diabetes:
- improves your diabetes management through improving your insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Lower your blood pressure
- Improves cholesterol
- Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke
- Improves blood flow
- Boost energy and mood and helps tame stress
What should I do before I start an exercise program?
Before you start a physical activity program, you should:
- Talk with your health care team e.g. Doctor, nurse, Diabetes educator prior to starting exercise
- Book in to see an Exercise Physiologist to assess your starting point and build you a safe and specifically tailored exercise program
- Plan ahead and set realistic goals
- Find someone to exercise with or a group exercise program to help keep you motivated and keep exercise enjoyable
- Decide how you’ll track your physical activity and blood glucose levels. It is important to track your BGL to avoid hypo/hyperglycaemic episodes. Keep a record of your physical activity to track your progress
- Reward yourself with a non-food item or activity when you reach your goals. For example, treat yourself to a movie or buy a new plant for the garden