When living with diabetes, being physically active has many benefits. Here's some information on how to get active.
For great evils... the "proper" means!
When you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is normal to want to limit the impact of the disease on your health. It is sometimes difficult to make the lifestyle changes that are needed after a diagnosis of diabetes. However, some changes can bring many benefits, and this is the case for physical activity.
It is well known that poor nutrition, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are factors that contribute to the development of diabetes. It is therefore not surprising that in the management of the disease, we focus primarily on lifestyle changes. A healthy, balanced diet, weight loss and regular physical activity are at the head of the diabetes treatment plan.
The benefits of physical activity
Everyone can benefit from increasing their level of physical activity. For people living with diabetes, it can pay off even more. That's because exercise has many benefits that help control the disease:
Here are some of the positive effects you can get from being more active:
- weight loss
- better control of blood glucose levels
- reduced risk of medical complications
- reduced need for medication or dosage of medications, including insulin
- lower cholesterol levels
- normalization of blood pressure
- increased life expectancy
- better sleep
- reduced stress
- feeling of well-being and vitality
Enthusiasm... and caution!
If you have not been exercising regularly for a while, it’s a good idea to start gradually. For example, you may want to start with 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity once or twice a day. Then you can increase the time of your activity. To get the most out of exercise, aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, spread out over at least three days.
Try to focus on moderate-intensity physical activity, such as the following:
- brisk walking
- swimming or water aerobics
- tennis or squash
Keep in mind that starting a more intensive exercise program can sometimes carry some risk. If you have other health issues, such as heart disease, speak to your doctor first. Also, since exercise directly affects blood glucose levels, you may need to adjust your medication. Monitor your blood glucose levels closely when you begin physical activity, even a few hours after you exercise, as the impact on blood glucose levels may come later. Speak to the healthcare professional (pharmacist, doctor or nurse) involved in monitoring your diabetes to learn how to manage the impact of physical activity. They can also give you some tips, such as walking, that can help lower high blood glucose levels. Your pharmacist, doctor and nurse are always available to help you adjust your treatment.
And then... medication
Lifestyle changes are not always enough to keep your blood glucose under control. If this is the case for you, don't be discouraged! Many people with diabetes eventually turn to medication. But you must continue to maintain good habits. Being active is good for your overall health! As experts in the field, pharmacists can advise you on the optimal and safe use of medication. They can also help you keep track of your blood glucose levels so you can adjust your treatment. Careful monitoring of your blood glucose is also a key to your success.
In conclusion, focusing on physical activity as a way to manage your diabetes is a sound investment that pays off. As your own health manager, think about it!
Speak to your pharmacist for additional information about preventing, detecting and managing hypoglycemia