Want to wield power over your diabetes? Better get some exercise.

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If you’re living with diabetes, you would probably like to get a better handle on your symptoms. You may even be seeking a way to control your blood sugar levels without popping pills for the rest of your life. There is good news.

With the right diet, you can take big strides toward good self-management of your diabetes. But for the best chance at controlling your diabetes, you need more than a good diet. You need to get in the gym on a regular basis.

What should you know about combining exercise and diabetes?

Helping Hand

Exercise helps you obtain and maintain a healthy weight, burn excess calories, and most important for those with diabetes – help your body better use insulin. It does this by forcing your muscles to accept more glucose during exercise, thereby lowering your blood sugar levels.

Strangely enough, when you push your body extremely hard, your body increases the amount of blood sugar available, which raises your levels of blood sugar levels. Regardless of which response your body experiences, it’s obvious that you can’t simply rely on exercise to moderate your blood sugar levels. You’ll need to pay attention to how exercise is affecting your body each time you walk into the gym.

Check Yourself

Helpful as exercise is for regulating your blood sugar levels, you’ll still need to keep an eye on your levels to ensure your good health. And while you may think you’ll have to check your blood sugar levels less when exercising, the opposite is actually true.

To keep your body in optimal health, you’ll want to check your blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercising. Since you’ll burn calories throughout your routine, which will affect your blood sugar levels, keeping a check on your levels will reduce your risk for dangerous blood sugar drops during your workout. Not comfortable checking your blood sugar levels in public? Run to the locker room halfway through your routine for a private check. Once you understand how your body responds to exercise, you won’t need to check your levels during exercise, as you can drink some fruit juice or chew on a few pieces of hard candy while working out to keep your levels where they belong.

Stop Waiting

With all sorts of research showing the benefits of exercise for those with diabetes, there is no reason to wait another day to get started. Whether you opt for aerobic exercise to gain better control over your blood sugar levels or go with strength training to enjoy such improved blood sugar control that you no longer have to take diabetes medication (yes, studies have found this is possible), exercise is your ticket to better diabetes control.

Even with a little bit of exercise each day, you can begin to live a healthier life despite diabetes. By taking a daily walk, an afternoon swim, or a leisurely bike ride around the park and eating a healthy diet, you can do what millions of others dream of doing: taking your health by the horns!

Too High to Help

Sometimes, exercising can be dangerous for those with diabetes. If you’re living with diabetes and have blood sugar levels of 300 mg/dL or higher, be extra cautious in the gym. And if your blood sugar levels are 250 mg/dL or higher and you test positive for ketones (byproducts of broken-down fat that develop in the blood and make their way into your urine), exercise can put you in harm’s way. Instead of going to the gym, contact your primary care physician

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