Exercise and Diabetes

Exercise and Diabetes

Dated : 04 Feb 2024

Q1. Why is Exercise important ?

When we exercise there are multiple changes that take place in our body but I specifically want to focus on the muscle tissue as it is seen that a person with autoimmune disorder is likely to lose muscle weight easily as compared to normal persons.

Primarily the muscle needs glucose to make ATP. The proteins on the cell surface of muscle move sugar or glucose into the muscle cell for metabolism. The muscle also breaks down its own source of fuel i.e glycogen.

So a person living with diabetes needs glucose for muscle building but is unable to take sugar into the muscle cells due to resistance to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that leads to a cascade of events that recruits protein into the cell and brings in sugar . Exercise helps bring the sugars into the muscle cell for metabolism . It helps in normal glucose intake. Exercise is like a medicine, it can go around the defects that you have with diabetes.

Q2. Is Exercise a replacement of Insulin?

No,exercise can help you with your insulin sensitivity, it will also help you keep fit and mentally relaxed but if the insulin level is too low in your body then your sugars will increase no matter how much exercise you do and if the insulin level is high the sugar levels will decrease. So in case you are thinking to go for a run instead of taking your insulin you may want to rethink your option

Q3. Why you should avoid exercise in case of hyperglycemia?

The cells in your body don’t understand that there is sufficient glucose in the body instead they act like they are starving. In order to fulfill their hunger the muscle glycogen is used because insulin deficiency prevents new glucose from entering the cells.

The insulin deficiency will cause stress in the body and hormones like glucagon and adrenaline send signals to liver to release more glucose. This also leads to break down of fat to fatty acids which are transformed into ketones in the liver.This puts you at a risk of developing ketoacidosis.

Q4. Which exercises are best in case of diabetes?

All kinds of exercise can be performed but with knowledge.

For instance if you are focusing on intense exercise then you need to take care that a 30 minute session is enough and remember to stay hydrated while exercising.’

In most cases minimun30-45 minutes of walk is recommended if a person is not exercising at all.

One should not be totally dependent on one form of exercise rather it should be a combination but the fact remains is you should be physically active and aware of the precautions to take before while and after doing any kind of exercise. 

In case of Anaerobic exercise which involves most of the muscular work like sprinting , power lifting and hockey your sugars may increase for some time as these exercises lead to release of hormone adrenaline and glucagon typically lasting for 30-60 min. That is why it is usually advised to not check your sugars immediately after exercise.

Aerobic exercises tend to lower blood glucose levels both during and after the exercise.

Q5. Why is it important to check your sugars before going to exercise?

Yes it is important because you should be aware regarding your sugar levels so that you can have an appropriate intake of a short meal or any action can be taken according to your sugars.

Diabetes is not a choice , but how I live with it is – Brett Andreas