Whether playing volleyball, cleaning the house, or gardening-any strenuous physical activity helps against insulin resistance, improves blood circulation, and prevents the common consequences of diabetes, such as vascular diseases or heart attacks. Exercise in the fresh air also protects against infections and supplies the body with vitamin D, which stabilizes the metabolism and the body’s defences.
As soon as the muscles work, they need glucose as the “fuel” (glucose or blood sugar). Muscles have their fuel stores, so-called glycogen depots, from which they take supply when they are active. If they are empty, the muscle cells get the necessary supplies from the blood – that means the blood sugar level drops. This effect lasts up to two days after a strenuous workout. This is how long it takes the muscle cells to replenish their empty energy stores with sugar from the blood.
The more muscles a person has, the better their blood sugar level drops. Muscles have a higher energy consumption than adipose tissue, even when they are not in use. People with diabetes should, therefore, build muscle through targeted strength exercises. Regular endurance training is also essential. It can permanently lower blood sugar levels – even without tablets. It is best to exercise four times a week to meet the above requirements. This way, the blood sugar-lowering effect persists, since the muscles need almost two days to replenish their sugar stores.
Ideally, 4 x 40 minutes of endurance units should be taken in a row per week, for example, 1. to jog 2. Nordic walking 3. To go biking 4. swim 5—Aqua jogging. If you like equipment training, the elliptical cross trainer is also a joint-friendly option. An endurance session can also be replaced by sweaty gardening.
You don’t have to go to the gym for strength training. The muscle-building exercises shown here can be easily carried out at home or on the go because they work with the weight of the body or with easily transportable aids such as a Theraband. Instead of a dumbbell, you can use a filled PET bottle. Holding exercises cause blood pressure to rise sharply. Who at Hypertension suffers, should be advised when choosing the activities and avoid sports such as climbing or weightlifting.
Take advantage of the opportunities to move more in everyday life; for example, consciously use the stairs instead of using the elevator. Small errands can be done just as quickly by bike as by car. If you are travelling by bus or train, you can get off one stop before your destination and walk the rest of the way. With the car, you park a few streets away.
This is especially important for everyone who injects insulin or takes medications that lower blood sugar (sulfonylureas, glinides). During physical exertion, the blood sugar level can drop so much that the blood sugar level drops—warning signs: rapid heartbeat, tingling, weakness, cold sweat or cravings.
Keep a diary and a sports diary. Take the SOS sports set with sufficient emergency BE (soft drinks, juice, glucose gel, glucose). Determine the blood sugar value before, during, and after physical activity: A baseline value of 150-180 mg/dl is ideal for dangerous sports (such as climbing, diving, whitewater canoeing, hang-gliding) also above because excitement can increase the value.
Adjust the insulin dose to the time, duration, and intensity of the training and/or Increase carbohydrate intake: take slow-acting carbohydrates (muesli) 1 to 2 hours before the start of exercise, fast-acting ones (glucose, juice) directly before exercise. Drink a lot! With glucose values above 160 mg/dl, people with diabetes need more fluid than healthy people. Carbohydrate drinks are the most suitable: they also cover higher energy and fluid requirements. The muscle-filling effect can promote hypoglycemia 48 hours after exercising.