It’s important to be active when you have diabetes. In addition to lowering your blood glucose level, exercise can ease stress and help you lose extra weight. So what’s stopping you? Here’s a look at a few common myth regarding diabetes and exercises and how you can get motivated to move.
Myth 1 : Diabetes patient can’t exercise and do sport?
Fact 1 : Having diabetes needn’t be a barrier to actively enjoying sports and exercise.
Diabetic sportsmen and women are common and diabetics have achieved some of the highest sporting awards in the world.
There are many more athletes who suffer from diabetes but carry on their games without any hindrance. In fact, the truth is that diabetic patients are encouraged to exercise and take part in sports.
Physical activity is an essential part of diabetes treatment. It keeps you active and healthy. Physical activity burns calories and increases the blood flow leading to more glucose absorption by the tissues.
Better fitness means better response to insulin and better control of blood sugar level. Exercise burns extra body fat and builds up muscle strength. Staying alert and always follow medical advice, are 2 key tips to help diabetics participate in sport.
Myth 2 : Kids with diabetes cannot exercise.
Fact 2 : Exercise is important for all kids — with or without diabetes!
Exercise offers many benefits to kids with diabetes. It helps them manage their weight and prevents them from gaining excess body fat.
It also improves cardiovascular health, boosts mood, relieves stress, and helps blood sugar control.
Children participating in sport independently from their parents should know how to recognize the sign and symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.
Don’t forget to discuss exercise guidelines and blood sugar management with the diabetes health care team.
Myth 3 : Lifestyle doesn’t have any impact on diabetes.
Fact 3 : A sedentary lifestyle actually acts as a trigger for development of diabetes. Lack of activity may lead to diabetes. Diabetics should follow a good balanced diet and do regular exercises.
For expecting mothers suffering from gestational diabetes too, exercise forms an important part of the treatment plan.
They should follow a good balanced diet and opt for exercises that do not involve too much of stretching. Exercises like stationary cycling, walking, swimming and arm exercises are safe options.
Exercising frequently gets the blood sugar levels down.
Myth 4 : I am already on diabetes medication, so I do not need to exercise at all.
Fact 4 : Regular physical activity helps lower your blood glucose level and improves insulin action.
It also lowers your risk of heart disease and improves your overall health. If you have not exercised for a long time, consult your doctor BEFORE starting any exercise plan.
Myth 5 : Exercise can make me become hypoglycemia?
Fact 5 : Always consult your physician before beginning an exercise regimen, or before changing your routine significantly.
Your doctor will check and see if you need to change your meals, insulin or diabetes medicines.
Warm up with stretching exercises before you begin any exercise. This helps prevent muscle strain and cramps. Stop if you have any unexpected pain while exercising. Mild muscle soreness is normal. Sudden pain is not.
Check your blood sugar levels before and after exercising, and watch for the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Keep a high-glucose snack with you to counteract low blood sugar.
Myth 6 : I feel numbness in my feet, can i do exercise?
Fact 6 : Nerve damage from peripheral neuropathy can cause numbness or pain in your feet. Exercise can help reduce the symptoms and may keep them from getting worse.
Ask your doctor about low-impact activities such as stationary bicycling, water aerobics, or pool walking (wearing water shoes). Work up an exercise plan with your doctor.
Match your shoes to the activity, and inspect your feet when you take the shoes off after exercise.
Myth 7 : Exercise need a lot of time, I don’t have time to exercise.
Fact 7 : Ideally, you should be moving at a moderate pace for 30 minutes most days of the week.
But if you’re overwhelmed with work, school, or family activities, find little pockets of time whenever you can.
Park farther away in the parking lot. Take the stairs, instead of the elevator. Walk around the field while the kids are playing a game. Be creative and fit in exercise. Those little moments of movement add up.
Myth 8 : I have exercise and I don’t feel any changes so I’m just not motivated.
Fact 8 : Sometimes just knowing that exercise is helping you fight diabetes isn’t enough to get you off the couch. So, find some other motivation.
Do you want to look great in a swimsuit for vacation? Do you want to feel good to dance at a wedding? Or think of a non-food reward — like a massage or a movie — and treat yourself when you’ve exercised every day for a whole week.
Myth 9 : It’s dangerous for diabetic patient to exercise.
Fact 9 : Exercising with diabetes does mean that you need to take some extra precautions.
Talk to your doctor first before starting an exercise routine. He or she may have some specific advice about the best approach.
Hydrate – you lose water when you exercise, and that can upset your blood sugar levels. It’s important to drink water before, during, and after aerobic exercise to make up for what you’re losing.
Protect your feet. Because nerve damage and circulation problems from diabetes can lead to foot injuries, be careful. Get a good pair of comfortable sneakers. Before and after exercise, check your feet for any sores, blisters, or other signs of irritation. If you notice any, get treatment right away.
Ask your doctor if you should check your blood sugar before, during, or after exercise. Find out what levels are too low and too high for exercising safely, and how to treat signs of low blood sugar.
Keep a snack handy. Have a snack with you in case your blood sugar level drops low while you’re exercising.
Wear a medical identification tag. You can wear a tag or carry an identification card that states you have diabetes.
Myth 10 : There is no exercise or sports suitable for people with diabetes.
Fact 10 : Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, just about any activity that gets your heart rate up or builds strength is a good idea. Anything from line dancing to table tennis can work. Here are a few to try.
- Walk more — briskly. For most people with diabetes, walking is a great choice. It’s easy. You can do it anywhere. You don’t need any equipment beyond a good pair of sneakers. However, if you have foot problems from diabetes, your doctor may recommend minimizing the time you spend on your feet.
- Get off your feet. If you have poor circulation and nerve damage, opt for low-impact exercises to protect your feet from injury. Swimming and stationary biking are both good choices.
- Consider tai chi or yoga. Some studies show that both are effective ways to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. They also help reduce stress as well.
- Be safe when weight-lifting. Starting a weight training program may have a big impact on your glucose levels and how you feel. You want your routine to involve major muscle groups in the upper and lower parts of your body and your core. One warning: in some people with vision damage related to diabetes, heavy weight lifting can injure blood vessels in the eyes. If you have vision problems from diabetes, talk to a doctor before you start lifting weights.
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