Tips for Better Blood Glucose Control for the Diabetic Casual Exercisers
Maintaining a normal blood glucose levels during exercise might be challenging for the casual exercisers with diabetes. But it is not impossible. With proper fueling and insulin adjustment, you will be able to enjoy your workout, worry-free. Here are some tips for a better blood glucose control throughout your workout.
Maintain a fairly consistent food intake and distribution of carbohydrate at meals and snacks throughout the day. This will help in stabilising your blood glucose levels.
Choose moderate to low glycemic index (GI) foods as they improve blood glucose control. However, if you are exercising one or more times a day, using a high GI recovery snack within the hour of completing exercise is advisable for muscle recovery.
When you are doing an aerobic exercise which lasts more than 60 minutes, it is recommended that you consume some carbohydrate from food or sports drink to prevent hypoglycemia. This can usually be consumed without requiring extra insulin.
Thinking of carbo-loading for your run? Unless you have a good diabetic control, it should not be attempted. Insulin and medication doses require careful adjusting, depending on the method of loading used and style of exercise tapering practiced before a competition.
Often times, you are too preoccupied with replacing carbohydrate, you forget about hydration. Follow your own drinking plan (as recommended by your dietitian), based on your sweat rate. It is important to minimise the risk of dehydration as well as preventing hyponatremia which is due to over-zealous fluid consumption.
So, remember to always have food readily available (including emergency food in case of hypoglycemia), eat regularly and do a routine monitoring of your blood glucose levels to assist with the adjustment of food and insulin.
Burke L & Deakin V Clinical Sports Nutrition. 4th ed.McGraw Hill; 2010