Exercise Is The Most Needed Management Tool

The most needed, yet toughest to follow, diabetes management tool is exercise.

Exercise-SafelyExercise can help control weight and therefore lower blood sugar levels, risk of heart disease and insulin resistance. A gradual phased in exercise program when practiced routinely and monitored regularly will give your diabetes management a new start. Excessive exercise could be a cause of severe hypoglycemia. In fact, even moderate exercise may cause a drop in blood sugar for the next 24 hours following exercise. The bottom line is exercise regularly and apply precautions along the way is the best practice. Do not over exercise. Weight loss is like building a brick house; one brick at a time and over time the house will be completed. Generally speaking, during the first 15 minutes of exercise, your body burns sugar from blood stream and muscles; the second 15 minutes, you burn you fuel (glycogen) from the liver; the third 15 minutes, you burn the fat from your belly. This is the reason why exercise experts recommend a 60 minute exercise regimen every other day. Exercise for 30 minutes only will not tap in your fat storage.

Together with diabetes medication, exercise dramatically impacts your quality of life in the ways of reducing complications and side-effects of medications ( by using less).

Weight loss if overweight is hard work, but not impossible. A little bit of math goes into it, as well.
• Weight gain: When the energy you get from food (x) exceeds the energy you use (Y), x > y
• No change in weight: The energy you get from food (x) equals the energy you use (Y), x = y
• Weight loss: The energy you get from food (x) less than the energy you use (Y), x < y weight loss

Before starting an exercise regimen, check with your doctor and review these cautions:

1. Check your blood sugar before and after exercising and make a note.
2. Wear diabetes shoes and socks.
3. Check your feet for blisters and sores before and after exercising.
4. Drink a lot of fluid before, during and after exercise.
5. Have a healthy snack handy in case your blood sugar becomes too low.
6. Exercise gradually and steadily.
7. Listen to your body.
8. Adjust insulin if needed by consulting with your health provider.

Written by Charles Liu, Clinical Pharmacist, MBA
Beaumont Health System

Charles H. Liu, R. Ph, MBA

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