Fitness & Nutrition
Fitness plays an important role when it comes to your diabetes management. Physical activity improves your blood glucose levels and improves your body’s response to insulin. When you exercise, your body uses sugar to burn energy, thus lowering your blood glucose.
Exercise has mental, physical and emotional benefits! Some benefits of exercising include:
- Helps to control your weight
- Decreases your risk of adverse conditions and diseases
- Helps to improve your mood
- Boosts energy
- Promotes better sleep
It is important for those living with diabetes to take measures to avoid low glucose during exercise.
- Check blood sugars before, during and after exercise
- Eat before heavy exercise
- Have extra snacks available during exercise
- Reduce insulin dosage
- Change the rapid-acting insulin
- Reduce insulin pump basal and bolus doses
- Change up the injection site (depending on what part of the body you are working out)
- Make sure others know
*Adapted from Chase, H. Peter. Understanding Diabetes. Denver, CO: Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, 2006. Print.
It is recommended that adults engage in 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days. To help manage weight, it is recommended to engage in about 60 minutes of vigorous exercise most days of the week. Children need about 60 minutes of play every day to stay healthy!
For more recommendations, visit:
- Physical activity guidelines for children
- Physical activity guidelines for adults
- Understanding Diabetes (the Pink Panther book) by H. Peter Chase – exercise chapter
Examples of moderate and vigorous activity:
- Walking briskly (about 3.5 miles per hour)
- Bicycling (less than 10 miles per hour)
- General gardening (raking, trimming shrubs)
- Golf (walking and carrying clubs)
- Water aerobics
- Tennis (doubles)
- Running/jogging (5 miles per hour)
- Walking very fast (4.5 miles per hour)
- Bicycling (more than 10 miles per hour)
- Heavy yard work, such as chopping wood
- Swimming (freestyle laps)
- Basketball (competitive)
- Tennis (singles)
An ideal diet is a healthy diet! Finding the right balance between nutrition and fitness can help you live a healthy and full life! A healthy diet includes foods from the six major nutrient groups: Protein, Carbohydrates, Fat, Vitamins and minerals, Water, Fiber.
For those living with diabetes, carbohydrate counting is very important. Carbohydrates are changed into blood sugar after consumption and affect the blood sugar levels. Striking a balance between carbohydrates eaten and adequate insulin dosage is imperative to healthy diabetes management. It is important to know how many carbohydrates will be eaten, at what time they will be consumed, with what they are consumed and if the right amount of insulin is available. A great resource to check out for carb counting is Carb Counting by Novo Nordisk (PDF).
Other Helpful Nutrition Resources Include:
- Treating Hypoglycemia
- Chart showing amount of carbohydrate to raise blood sugar to 120 by individual’s weight
- Proposed Nutrition Label
- Portion distortion guide
- Dietary Guidelines
- How much of WHAT to eat
- Everything you ever wanted to know about nutrition
- Help for you to keep track of your nutrition, exercise and health