Exercising is a big deal for Ghanaians. It’s challenging as a medical practitioner to convince people that they have to make exercise part of their lifestyle. I personally get excuses like, “Doctor, I do hard manual work ooo, do I still need exercise?” OR “I become even fatter when I stopped exercising so I won’t even start!” and the commonest excuse is “Doctor Time no dey ooo”. Exercise is essential for every individual, but today I wish to focus on people with diabetes. You can know if eating too much sugar gives diabetes here first.
When you have diabetes, exercise will help control your blood sugar levels. But if you are overweight or obese and diabetic, exercise will also help you lose weight. As a person with diabetes, there are additional considerations and precautions that you need to take before you begin an exercise routine. And once you have started, you always need to be aware of the risks involved.
It is ideal to wait before your exercise if your blood glucose level is too low or high. You can do more damage than good if you do not. It is especially dangerous if your blood sugar is on the low side and you begin to exercise. Physical exertion can cause your blood sugar to drop even further which can become an emergency situation. As a precaution, if you are exercising at a gym make sure the staff are aware of your condition and have emergency instructions and numbers to call. If you walk or run on your own outside, keep identification on you that advises you are diabetic along with contact phone numbers, a snack, and instructions.
For other tips on exercising with diabetes, you can follow the same guidelines that make sense for everyone else. Stretch before and after exercising, drink plenty of fluids, and don’t push yourself too hard. It is a smart idea to check your blood sugars before and after exercising and if you are feeling light-headed during your work-out check it then too.
As feet problems are common in people with diabetes, wear proper footwear and socks. If you notice any sores on your feet that are not going away on their own, see your doctor. If they are not healing, they can lead to an infection and other related complications. Even though there are risks involved in exercising, the benefits make it worth it.
Dr Frank Dartey Amankonah (Dr Doo)