Everybody benefits from regular exercise. If you have diabetes or are at risk of diabetes, it plays an important role in keeping you healthy.
Regular exercise is an important part of your diabetes management. If you are on insulin, it will help your insulin to work more efficiently and assist with your blood glucose control. However, if your diabetes is poorly controlled (ie fasting blood glucose levels greater than 14 mmol/L and urinary ketones) then it is best to avoid exercise until your blood glucose has settled. Exercise in these circumstances can actually elevate blood glucose and increase ketone production.
For a person with diabetes, exercise helps:
You are discouraged from strenous physical activity if you are feeling unwell or have ketones present in your blood or urine.
Before commencing a regular exercise programme, see your doctor for a full medical examination. There are also 2 things you have to be careful of.
Take it slow. You don't want to start off too hard because if you are not used to the exercise you will be sore the next day and this will not make the exercise an enjoyable one! Always increase the intensity of the exercise very slowly.
Get checked out. If you have any health problems such as diabetes complications like retinopathy, nephropathy, you should talk to your doctor or an accredited exercise physiologist before you start increasing the intensity of your exercise.
Suitable types of exercise depend on the individual. Here are some suggestions for you to discuss with your doctor:
Increasing your general physical activity is also helpful, for example, taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting up to change the TV station instead of using the remote control, housework and gardening.
Ideally, you should be doing about 30 minutes every day. If this is not possible, then this time can be divided into 3 x 10 minute sessions.
You do not need to puff to gain the benefits of exercise. Aim for moderate intensity. This means you should still be able to talk as you exercise without becoming breathless.
People with diabetes are generally discouraged from strenuous physical activity if they feel unwell or have ketones present in their blood or urine.
Last Reviewed: 06 September 2011