Exercise: It Does a Body Good
Athletes around the world are now competing (and competing well) with diabetes. Scott Dunton, a professional surfer with type 1 diabetes, is just one example of how exercise does a body good!
However, there are some things I wish I had always known about exercising with diabetes...
Being active has always made me feel better, physically and emotionally. But here are some other things about exercise that I wish someone had told me years ago.
1) Exercise can help erase your blood glucose “mistakes”
Exercise acts as an extra dose of insulin, figuratively.
At rest, insulin is the main way to get glucose into muscle cells, but during exercise, glucose goes muscles without insulin (caused by muscle contractions).
Being regularly active makes your muscles more sensitive to insulin, so you will need lower doses of it overall.
What better way to help erase a little overeating of carbs (or some insulin resistance) than a moderate dose of exercise to lower your blood glucose?
2) Exercise doesn’t always make your blood glucose go down
It doesn’t always make your blood glucose come down, at least not right away.
During intense exercise, the glucose-raising hormones your body releases can raise your blood glucose (think high-intensity interval training).
Over a longer period of time (2-3 hours), it usually comes back down.
If you take insulin, take less than normal to correct a post-workout high or your blood glucose will likely be crashing low a few hours later.
A cool-down of less intense exercise (like walking) can help bring it back to normal, though.
3) Your muscle mass is critical to managing blood glucose levels
Exercise helps you build and retain your muscle mass, and muscles are the main place you store carbs after you eat them—like a gas tank.
Exercising helps use up stored carbs, but can also increase the size of the tank.
When you eat carbs post-exercise, they can easily go into storage with a little insulin (or sometimes none at all).
Being sedentary keeps the tank full and makes you resistant to insulin.
Aging alone can cause you to lose muscle mass over time.
Resistance training and/or high-intensity intervals build muscle more, so you need to include these activities regularly as part of your workouts.
4) It’s the best medicine there is
Control stress and stave off depression with exercise—and it has no bad side-effects!
Exercise is a natural antioxidant—better than supplements!
Being active prevents all sorts of cancers, including prostate and breast.
It will help you feel better and look younger than you are (and we can all use help with that).
You'll be even less likely to catch a cold, if you exercise moderately.
Don’t forget your daily dose of exercise "medicine"!
Standing more, taking extra steps, and fidgeting help--just be active all day long any way that you can!