Two things that are crucial to diabetes management are diet and exercise. While adapting to diet changes is easy, undertaking physical activities without consultation with an expert could be dangerous. If you are a diabetic and never have exercised before, then go slow and don’t jump into a regime that might not suit your body. In fact, if you want to go to a gym to lose weight, follow these tips by Dr Niti Shah, consulting diabetologist, Advanced Multispecialty Hospital, Mumbai for better results:
Talk to your doctor: If you are planning to take a gym membership, talk to your doctor to know what kind of exercises you should do and how much. Everybody is different and so are their needs. Exercising will lower the blood sugar levels and so your medications have to be adjusted accordingly. You might need to take your medicine or insulin doses depending on your exercise schedules. Keep your doctor in the loop to titrate your medicines according to your workout routines.
Check your sugar levels: In general, your fasting blood sugar levels should be between 110 to 130 mg/dL and postprandial not more than 150-200 mg/dL. If on any given day your sugar levels are too low or too high, avoid going to the gym and meet your doctor instead. If you ignore the readings and continue with rigorous training and exercise chances are you might collapse at the gym which could lead to a fatal accident.
Have a snack before workout: It is not wise to hit the gym with an empty stomach, more so if you are a diabetic. Eat a light snack as you would be burning calories and fat. Fuel your body with energy. Otherwise, your body will break down muscles to keep itself going, which isn’t desirable. A glass of milk, diet biscuits, fruit or a handful of channa are good options as pre-workout snacks.
Be watchful of what you eat post workout: Post workout, replenish your body with snacks that are a mix of complex carbohydrates and proteins. Consuming carbohydrates after workout help to balance your sugar levels and proteins help regain energy and build muscles. If you don’t eat well post workout, this could again lead to muscle degeneration and weakness. Also, your sugar levels might remain low leading to hypoglycaemia.
Don’t take medication before hitting the gym: Avoid taking medication or insulin shot before hitting the gym, since your sugar levels are going to dip. Instead, the right time to take your doses is post workout after you had a snack which will help to manage your sugar levels better.
Carry your supplies: Keep a bottle of water, an energy bar (sugarless one) and glucose monitor with you to help you in cases of emergency.
Ask for help if needed: At the gym, if your sugar levels go down and you experience symptoms of hypoglycaemia like giddiness, nausea and dizziness, stop exercising and ask for help. Ask someone to assist you back home or to the rest area. Low sugar levels could lead to accidents at the gym which could be fatal.