Getting exercise when you have diabetes can be a difficult struggle. On one hand, a healthy lifestyle is a crucial component of managing the disease. Active individuals are much more likely to keep their sugar levels in check and slow the development of serious complications. On the other hand, for those who already have significant sensation loss and circulation issues in their feet, exercise can be risky. A relatively minor injury could become a serious diabetic ulcer.
We strongly encourage those with diabetes tostock get plenty of exercise, but do so safely. You may find some of these tips helpful:
- Check with your doctor (us or your general practitioner) before starting a new exercise program if you have sensation loss in your feet.
- Ease into new activities gradually. If you’re normally sedentary, try starting with just 10 minutes of focused exercise a day, or as much as you can handle comfortably. Slowly work toward 30 minutes per day or more as your fitness improves.
- Set specific, realistic goals so you can monitor your progress. Better to have a lower (but attainable) goal that you can work toward confidently than a bigger goal that causes you to lose motivation.
- Carry plenty of water and some carb snacks with you in case your sugar drops.
- Test your sugar before and after exercise to make sure it’s in a healthy range.
- If you can, exercise with a friend who can help you if your sugar drops—and provide some extra motivation! If you’re going it alone, bring along a medical tag or card in case you need emergency help from a stranger.
- Favor low-impact workouts like strength training, cycling, walking, yoga, or swimming instead of activities that involve running and/or jumping, especially if your feet are at high risk due to nerve damage.
- Make sure you have good shoes with plenty of cushioning and support that are appropriate for your preferred type of activity. We’ll happily help you pick out a good pair!
- Strength training is especially good for most people with diabetes. It makes your body more sensitive to insulin, and helps protect against fractures, osteoporosis, and injuries.
- Listen to your body, and stop immediately if something hurts.
- Thoroughly check your feet at least once every day, especially if you have sensation problems. This can help you detect problems early even if you aren’t able to “feel” them.
If you’re looking to get fit to improve your health and better manage your diabetes, please make an appointment with Advanced Foot & Ankle Associates of Arizona before you do. You can request one online, or give us a call at 480-963-9000.