Diabetes is a leading medical condition in this country. This client question deals with this topic.
Client Q: I have diabetes. What do I need to be concerned with if I decide to exercise?
Mark's A: Diabetes is a metabolic disorder caused by insulin deficiency which impairs glucose usage. There are two forms of diabetes:
Type 1 - It is usually found in normal or underweight younger people. Type 1 diabetics (insulin dependent) usually inject insulin so that blood sugar can be delivered to the body's cells. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) levels can lead to dizziness, weakness and fainting. It is disturbing that more cases are happening where young people are beginning to have Type 2 diabetes also (due to obesity and lack of exercise)!
Type 2 - This type of diabetes (insulin resistant) is associated with obesity, especially abdominal obesity. Type 2 diabetics usually produce enough insulin but their cells are insulin resistant. This can result in hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). If left uncorrected, it leads to kidney, heart, eye and nerve damage.
As a personal trainer, I'm trying to help the client avoid hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia during and after exercise. As a diabetic, you should keep a snack on hand for a quick source of carbohydrates to avoid hypoglycemia.
Other exercise considerations for diabetics:
1) Glucose levels should be measured before, during and after exercise (especially for those newly diagnosed).
2) Quality footwear is important and the feet should be checked often for blisters.
3) Post-exercise carbohydrate consumption is advisable.
4) The diabetic can do resistance training. The workload should be monitored carefully.
5) Low impact aerobics work well for diabetics.
6) Exercise can have an insulin-like affect on the body (i.e., exercise-induced hypoglycemia).
If you have diabetes, the key is to keep it under control. Doing so will allow you to lead a normal life.