As you begin your transformation, it’s important to remember to listen to your body.  Beginning an exercise routine isn’t easy.  It takes patience, commitment and forgiveness.

With each new progression, comes a new challenge and patience will be key when first starting out.  There will be times it may feel like a struggle or that you aren’t seeing “immediate” results.  While you may not see results, your body certainly is.  Simply moving more will greatly aid in your fight with diabetes.

Commit to Yourself

It’s especially important during these times to continue to make a commitment to yourself; whether it’s frustration with patience or a hectic day, schedule time to get out and get active.  If you don’t do it for you, no one else will do it for you.

Finally, it takes forgiveness to reach your goals.  Sometimes you might slip up and fall a little behind with the goals you have set for yourself.  Instead of beating yourself up, recognize what happened and change it in the future.  Don’t let a mistake derail you from your path, use it to make you stronger in your fight.

To help you get started, follow these guidelines and tips to stay healthy on your journey.

General Guidelines

  • To reduce the risk of hypoglycemia if you have diabetes, follow a regular routine of exercising, eating your meals, and taking your medicines at the same time each day.
  • Be careful exercising when your medicine is reaching its peak effect.
  • Depending on the time of exercise, reducing your dose of either long-acting insulin or short-acting insulin may be necessary. Your doctor can recommend how to make this adjustment.
  • Wear a medical identification tag (for example, MedicAlert) or carry an identification card that states you have diabetes.
    • Check your sugars before, during and after exercise and always carry a small carbohydrate snack such as a fruit or fruit drink since low blood sugars can occur.
    • Do not exercise if you have type 1 diabetes and your blood sugar is greater than 250 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) and your ketones are positive. This is an indication that you already may have a lack of insulin and exercise will only cause a greater rise in your blood sugar.

General Exercise Guidelines and Precautions

  • Start slowly and gradually increase your endurance.
  • Choose an activity that you enjoy. You'll be more likely to stick with a program if you enjoy the activity. Make exercise a lifetime commitment.
  • Consider a water exercise program. Some other exercise options include walking, riding a stationary bicycle, or swimming.
  • Exercise at least three to four times per week for about 30 minutes each session. Ideally, you should exercise every day. A good exercise program should include a 5- to 10-minute warm-up and at least 15 to 30 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise (such as walking or biking) followed by a 5-minute cool down.
  • Add muscle strengthening or resistance exercises to your routine 2 or 3 times a week.
  • Drink water before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
  • Do not ignore pain -- discontinue any exercise that causes unexpected pain. If you continue to perform the activity while you are in pain, you may cause unnecessary stress or damage to your joints.

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