When you have type 2 diabetes, exercise is very important. It helps to manage your symptoms and, with time and effort, may even reverse your condition.
Unfortunately, exercising with type 2 can be difficult. Physical activity can mess with you blood sugar readings, and if you have a high bodyweight exercise can be difficult. Complications that can arise from advanced type 2 can also make some forms of physical activity difficult or even dangerous.
Instead of letting these disadvantages keep you from exercising, read exercise tips for type 2 diabetics.
Tip 1: Get Carbs From The Right Place
Because exercise uses energy, it can mess with your blood sugar, especially if you aren’t careful about where your carbs come from.
Simple carbs that come from things like fruits, juices, and energy drinks digest quickly so your blood sugar goes up quickly and comes down quickly. If this happens while you’re exercising it can result in deep lows. The best way around this is to get more of your energy from complex carbs.
Complex carbs digest more slowly, so you’ll have to eat them longer before you work out, about one to three hours before. The good news though, is that because complex carbs digest more slowly they don’t lead to spikes in your blood sugar.
Having a source of simple carbs like a fruit, fruit juice, or sports drink can be good incase your blood sugar gets too low. Having a few simple carbs while you’re exercising can help you to exercise longer, but don’t over-do it. That can undo some of the good of exercising.
Tip 2: Ease Into Exercising
If you aren’t used to exercising, it might be best to start out slow. Easing yourself into exercising is important to help your body do more exercises and to avoid overdoing it and injuring yourself.
With this mentality, however, it can be very easy to never up your game. Always have a goal in mind and set a new goal when you meet an old one. If you need help coming up with goals, talk to your doctor.
It can also be best to start out with lighter exercises if your weight limits your mobility. You may need to lose some weight through dieting before your doctor will recommended much exercise, but you can get a head start by walking more and doing other low impact exercises. Burning calories is more important than building muscle at this stage, so sticking to aerobic exercises might be best.
Tip 3: Listen To Your Body
As a diabetic, you need to check in with yourself periodically while you are exercising. With time, you will be able to identify important feelings like high and low blood sugar levels. Recognizing these situations and responding to them accordingly is very important.
After you exercise, you should also look over your body, especially your feet, for any minor injuries that you may have sustained. High blood sugar levels over time can damage small nerves, especially in your limbs, that can make it hard to notice things like scratches and blisters that can become infected if they aren’t taken care of properly.
It is also important to wear comfortable shoes and keep your feet dry while you work out.
Tip 4: Exercising gets easier as you go
In a way, it is sort of unfair that people with type 2 can have such a hard time staying active considering all of the good that a more active lifestyle can do for you. It’s important not to become discouraged, however.
The most important things are to eat right, to check in with your body and not push yourself too hard, and to maintain a healthy relationship with your doctor.