The majority of adults who are living with type 1 diabetes should target to get at least 150 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity aerobic exercise every week, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). This can be a goal you work towards gradually, and you should also aim to get in at least a bit of daily exercise to help reduce your insulin resistance, the association recommends. While there is no single relationship between blood sugar levels and specific exercises, given it varies for different individuals, here are some evidence-based workouts for type 1 diabetes you can start trying!
Adults with type 1 diabetes are recommended to undergo resistance activities at least two times a week, according to the ADA. Such activities include:
- Strength-training workouts that target muscle building, such as lifting weights
- Workouts using a resistance band
- Push-ups, chin-ups, and other exercises leveraging your body weight
Going for a run can not only help improve your mood, but it’s also beneficial to get your heart pumping. However, do remember to warm up and gradually increase your speed and run duration, as you do not want to risk a joint injury or other physical strains.
Between and after runs, you should check your blood sugar levels to gauge if you need a snack to fuel up or make necessary adjustments for future runs.
Consider getting OKRA’s handy Bluetooth glucose meter found in the starter kit so that you’ll always be prepared should your glucose levels run too low or high from the workout.
One aerobic activity that will not overstrain your joints but still effectively increases your heart rate is swimming.
According to studies, swimming is the ideal workout for individuals with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPM). While people with DPM can do weight-bearing exercises, doctors recommend activities that do not involve many weights to prevent a potential injury for those with severe neuropathy.
The great thing about cycling is that it gives you the flexibility of increasing or decreasing the amount of effort you exert.
You can cruise along slowly throughout your neighborhood or pick up the pace when exploring a new place with a friend. No matter the speed, just be conscious of how your body is feeling
Riding a bike gives you lots of options to increase or decrease the intensity of your workout. You can ride slowly in your neighborhood or increase the pace if it works for you. Bikes can also come equipped with motors that can give you extra support, especially when you are getting started.
Make sure to keep a good supply of water, a carb-based snack, testing supplies, and insulin in your bike’s basket when you’re cycling. You may consider getting OKRA’s subscription-based refill kits of test strips, which keep you prepared for changes in your glucose levels, anytime, anywhere.
Benefits of Exercising for Patients with Type 1 Diabetes
A consensus statement released by The Lancet medical journal in 2017 highlighted many evidence-based benefits of exercising for adults who have type 1 diabetes.
Some of these include:
- greater likelihood of meeting blood pressure targets
- reduction in total daily insulin needs
- reduced risk factors of heart disease, such as dyslipidemia and hypertension
- reduced risk for complications associated with diabetes, such as retinopathy
These are all benefits that make it worthwhile for you to embark on a fitness journey today!