3 Myths About Exercising With Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes

by | Mar 18, 2022 | Diabetes, Exercise | 0 comments

Myths about Exercising with Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes

Depending on how active you currently are, you may need to make some adjustments to your physical activity level to improve blood sugar control, start losing weight and feel better overall. But don’t worry, these changes don’t need to be dramatic. In fact, small, simple changes can produce noticeable results.

There are many myths and misconceptions about what type of exercise is appropriate for people with diabetes. The good news is you don’t have to worry and wonder anymore because I will break down the most common myths and show you what is really true when it comes to diabetes and exercise.

Myth #1: Exercise is not safe for someone with diabetes.

Truth: Exercise can be a great way to control diabetes. In fact, regular exercise can reduce blood sugar, promote weight loss, and even decrease the need for medication. However, there are some precautions you should take. First, always consult your physician before starting or changing an exercise routine to make sure it is appropriate for you. Invest in comfortable, well-fitted shoes with adequate support and always check your feet for signs of blisters, cuts, or irritation after exercise-if left unattended, these can lead to serious infections. If you have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, you may need to avoid strenuous activities like weightlifting and running. If you have this condition, discuss your exercise plans with your physician to make sure your activities won’t negatively impact your eyesight.

Myth #2: Exercise will make it harder to control my blood sugar.

Truth: Exercise can actually make controlling blood sugar levels easier, but you do have to be cautious with meal planning to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) during and after exercise. Also, if you are taking medication to lower your blood sugar, it is possible for levels to drop too low with high intensity or long duration workouts. To prevent this, carry your blood glucose meter with you and test your levels before, during, and after exercise. If your levels are low before exercising, make sure to eat first. Half a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich will do the trick: It’s the perfect combination of carbohydrates, fat and protein, and will help keep your blood sugar stable. If you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia during exercise, stop and check your blood sugar. Carry a carbohydrate-based snack (examples include crackers or 100% fruit juice) or glucose tablets with you, so if hypoglycemia does occur, you can treat it right away.

Myth #3: I can’t work out if my blood sugar is high.

Truth: Since exercise helps to lower blood sugar, it is a great way to treat high blood sugar levels and bring them into a normal range. However, there are times when blood sugar is too high to exercise safely. According to the Mayo Clinic, if your blood sugar is 250 mg/dL or higher before exercise, it is important to check your urine for ketones first. Having a high level of ketones in your urine can put you at risk for a serious condition known as ketoacidosis, so it’s important to wait to exercise until ketones are not present. If your blood sugars rise above 300 mg/dL, exercise is not recommended until your levels fall into a safer range.

Success Stories

Nearly every participant of The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) credited greater physical activity as a key contributor to their weight-loss success and sustaining a healthier lifestyle. Walking was the predominant exercise of choice. Read some of their stories at www.nwcr.ws.

Now that you know the truth about how exercise can help improve your diabetes, it’s time to get started! The goal is to work up to at least 150 minutes of exercise a week (that’s about 30 minutes for 5 days). Here are the five main components of your Dollar Diabetes Clubs physical activity plan:

  1. Sitting less each day: Moving around burns calories, which promotes weight management.
  2. Incorporating cardiovascular/aerobic exercise into your week.
  3. Performing strength training at least two times a week-this helps build muscle mass, which boosts metabolism and that’s key to weight loss.
  4. Flexibility training.
  5. Balance training.

Getting more physically active doesn’t have to be complicated or require a specialized setting. We will talk more about how to incorporate these aspects into your life in the upcoming weeks.


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