Physical activity plays a vital role in type 1 diabetes treatment. Staying fit and active throughout your life has plenty of benefits, yet the biggest impact for people with diabetes certainly is to help you control diabetes and prevent long-term complications.
How can exercise help your diabetes treatment?
As a matter of fact, exercise makes it easier to control your blood sugar level and benefits people with type 1 diabetes, since it increases your insulin sensitivity. To be simple, after exercise, your body doesn’t need as much insulin to process carbohydrates. If your child has type 1 diabetes, allowing them to get enough exercise is not only a great way to help manage his or her diabetes but also healthy habits from an early age.
Physical activity can also help people with type 1 diabetes avoid long-term complications, especially heart problems. People with diabetes are susceptible to developing blocked arteries, known as arteriosclerosis, which can lead to a heart attack. Exercise will keep your heart healthy and strong Moreover, it will maintain good cholesterol, a chemical substance which might help you avoid arteriosclerosis.
In addition, there are all the traditional benefits of exercise:
- More energetic,
- Better control of weight,
- Lower blood pressure,
- Leaner, stronger muscles,
- Stronger bones.
A Few Notes Before You Begin Exercising
Look for medical advice before starting if you don’t currently exercise. Specifically, if you are an adult having type 1 diabetes, you should have a full physical check up to confirm that you are ready to be more active.
Your GP will be able to check your cardiovascular system, which is particularly important if you already have blocked arteries or high blood pressure. You may also need to take into consideration any other diabetes-related complications such as retinopathy or neuropathy. When you begin an exercise program, your doctor can recommend you the best exercise program and schedule which allow you to get in shape but doesn’t push your body too hard.
Before starting your training, make sure to set realistic goals and allow yourself some time to build up to a steady, challenging exercise habits. There is no problem if you slowly increase your physical activity since it is better for your body in the long run.
Talk to your doctor and/or a dietician/nutritionist about adjusting your insulin, oral medications and diabetic meal around exercise. You will need to have a clear plan unless you want to become hypoglycemic during a work-out.
A Few Exercise Suggestions
There are three main kinds of exercise: aerobic, strength training, and flexibility work. You should aim to have a good balance of all three. One of the best ways to make sure you stick with an exercise plan is to mix it up and do things that you enjoy the most. Try joining a league if possible. For example, if you prefer running, sign up for races to provide a challenge and a goal. Or you can have an exercise partner, since knowing that someone else will be there with you always makes it easier to want to exercise. Also remember to make a commitment to exercise and make it a priority. As tough as it may be to find the time or to motivate yourself to exercise, try to stay active because your long-term health depends on it.
In conclusion, exercise and physical activity are necessary and important parts of your life when you have type 1 diabetes, the same as adjusting your diet along with taking insulin. It can also help you avoid serious long-term complications of diabetes such as heart disease, neuropathy or nephropathy.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: April 16, 2017 | Last Modified: April 15, 2017
Exercise and Type 1 Diabetes. http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/exercise-and-type-1-diabetes.html. Accessed January 5th, 2017.
Physical Activity and Type 1 Diabetes. http://www.diabetes.org.nz/living_well_with_diabetes/living_with_type_1_diabetes/physical_activity. Accessed January 5th, 2017.