Aerobics for the Diabetic

While exercising, do you experience sudden drops in energy levels, feel giddy, weak, disoriented, and suffer from excessive sweating? Also, do you have frequent hunger pangs, headaches, and trembling sensations? If yes, then you should get your blood sugar checked. You may be having diabetes. In diabetes, insulin malfunctioning leads to either low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) or high blood sugar level (hyperglycemia). If you are a diabetic, your main concern should be to normalize your blood sugar level. This is where aerobics could be of great help to you.

Aerobics can counter some of the factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, aging or even stress, which are instrumental in causing diabetes. In addition, aerobics is also helpful for diabetics because of it:

  • Lowers your blood sugar levels. This decreases your chances of medical complications.
  • Decreases insulin requirements.
  • Prevents adult-obesity. Aerobics suppresses the appetite and increases the metabolic rate.
  • Enhances your capacity for physical work. This is achieved by developing lean muscle and helps in the control of diabetes.
  • Regulates blood lipids and lowers your cholesterol levels.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease through the above benefits.
  • Increases your endurance, strength and thus improves your self-esteem.

If you are diabetic and plan to begin an aerobics program, you must take the following precautions:

  • Have the disorder under control. And get your blood sugar tested. It would also be advisable to get your oral glucose test, insulin secretion test and also a stress test done for cardiovascular fitness levels.
  • Begin with low-intensity alternative aerobics. Try a few weeks of walking or bicycling to see how your body responds to physical activity.
  • Exercise at the same time every day. This will prevent hypoglycemia if done at the prescribed intensity & duration. Do not exercise when your insulin is at its peak. Have a snack half an hour before exercising.
  • Choose the site of insulin injection. Do not inject insulin close to the muscles being exercised since muscle contraction during exercise will push it directly into the bloodstream. This will cause premature hypoglycemia.
  • Keep some candies or fruit juices within reach to counteract hypoglycemia.
  • Do not perform aerobics more than three to five times in a week. Always take a day off to replenish your body’s carbohydrate reserves.
  • Stick to low-impact movements. Your insulin requirements will drop as much as 20% during initial adaptation to aerobics. It may take you two weeks to respond to new levels.
  • Keep checking the intensity of your workout.
  • Ensure a suitable floor surface, shoes, and socks. This is to minimize your chances of injury.
  • Take time off during cold and flu season. Diabetics take longer to recuperate so be careful not to contact communicable diseases.
  • Know about first aid procedures. And do not leave your class alone, looking for sugar during a hypoglycemic stage.
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So in case you are guilty of not exercising because of diabetes, here’s your chance to make amends and start exercising in the right spirit.