How to Workout with Medical Issues… Diabetes

One of the most frequent things I see at the gym is people working out without eating breakfast or food before they start their gym routine. Your body only has so much energy floating around in it that it can quickly utilize for movement (about 30 min). After that it has to start to pull from stores in you muscle and kidneys. This is usually when I will see my clients start to turn pail, have super low energy and become dizzy. Their body is trying to pull enough stored energy for quick utilization; but there is a little bit of a time lapse where you are running on empty. This is much like what happens to someone who has Diabetes and is referred to as Hypoglycemia. The easiest remedy would be to get some kind of sugar in the body; I have found that orange juice or just fruit works wonders for the “bonking” that happens during exercise on an empty stomach or if you are a diabetic.

Warning signs of hypoglycemia are:

  • Mild Symptoms: Trembling or shakiness, nervousness, rapid heart rate, palpitations, increased sweating, excessive hunger
  • Moderate Symptoms: headache, irritability and abrupt mood changes, impaired concentration and attentiveness, mental confusion, drowsiness
  • Severe Symptoms: unresponsiveness, unconsciousness, convulsions

Insulin’s normal response to meals would include an increase in blood glucose, causing an increase in insulin. Insulin is transported throughout the body and causes the body to enhance its glucose uptake and utilization. A defect anywhere along this pathway for glucose uptake signals diabetes. During exercise low levels of glucose are the main problem to deal with during prolonged intense exercise where the liver does not release enough glucose to match the need of the working muscle.

Benefits of exercise on Diabetes:

  • It increases insulin sensitivity, causing a long term improvement in glycemic control (meaning your body needs less insulin to clear the glucose).
  • Decreased Cardiovascular disease risk factors
  • Weight loss and reduced body fat
  • Better psyche
  • Reduced occurrence of Type II diabetes

How to exercise to get the best benefits:

  • Try for 170 min of weekly exercise
  • Combine weights and cardio to your daily routine
  • Combine diet and regular exercise
  • Exercise must be maintained to keep results

Exercise is a must for anyone, but especially those with diabetes; you can increase your quality of life and make diabetes more manageable. Every day will be different with exercising and your energy levels so you will need to watch how your body reacts to exercise; especially 30 minuntes into it. Remember to eat for exercise and to have some quick energy on hand in case your body needs a little more to finish up the workout.

If these benefits seam like something that interest you and you would like to be taught by one of the Seattle Athletic Club’s highly educated fitness staff please contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.



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