TRAINING WITH DIABETES – By Nicholas Caracandas
I have been an Insulin Dependent Diabetic for 16 years now, And I MUST say that without my training, I would not be able to control my sugars like I do. As a diabetic, you have what they call the “triangle of control”. This means that you need to control diabetes with Diet and Exercise BEFORE Medication. Fact is 65% of diabetics get this order mixed up. Diabetes is very much a trial and error affliction. I hope you enjoy this article and benefit from it in some way or another.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disorder that prevents the body from being able to convert starches, sugars and other food into energy. Most foods we eat are converted into glucose during digestion, and then the bloodstream transports the glucose throughout the body. Insulin then turns this glucose into energy, or it is stored in cells for further use. In diabetics the body either does not produce insulin, or is not able to use it correctly, resulting in too much glucose in the bloodstream.
What should our ‘Blood Sugar’ level be?
While the ideal blood sugar level is 5.5. A non-diabetic will generally range between 4.0 to 8.0.
What happens if your sugar levels are outside of the normal range ?
If your sugar level is below 4.0 you may become hypoglycemic. If you are hypoglycemic you may experience confusion, shaking, cold sweats and extreme hunger, and confusion. To rectify this you should immediately take sugar and a complex carb (so that your sugar levels stay up). If your sugar levels exceed 8.0 you may become hyperglycemic. In this case you may experience red eyes, fatigue, dry mouth, extreme thirst and the need to urinate constantly. If this happens – you NEED insulin.
From my experience, this is important information you should know (as a diabetic) when training?
Know your body, the only way is to keep a record. Test regularly! If your sugars are 12.0 or above – exercise will push your blood sugar levels up. If your sugar levels are 11.0 or below – exercise will bring your sugar levels down. Knowing this makes exercise the best control of your blood sugar levels!
HOWEVER, if you do exercise that lasts less than 15 minutes and is high in intensity, it will sky rocket your sugar levels regardless of your sugar reading at the time. When preparing for this kind of exercise, a small bolus of insulin (normally 2 or so units), prior to the workout is advised. If the exercise you are planning is aerobic and lasts for 45 minutes or longer, this will bring your sugar levels down and having small amounts of glucose handy you will be able to balance this out.
THIS ABOVE MENTIONED IS NOT KNOWN BY MANY DIABETICS, I CONSIDER MYSELF LUCKY TO KNOW THIS, AND YOU TOO, ARE NOW WELL INFORMED.
What are some of the BENEFITS associated with EXERCISE for DIABETICS?
Control of blood glucose levels – Glucose is the source of energy in our body. Physical activity utilizes the glucose and helps to reduce the blood glucose levels. Physical activity also decreases the insulin resistance. A few studies have also indicated that activity increases the insulin receptors in the red blood cells. All this together helps to keep the glycosylated hemoglobin (three-month average of blood glucose levels) levels normal.
Improved cardiovascular function – Individuals with type II diabetes are more prone to cardiovascular diseases (hardening of arteries, heart attack, and stroke). Exercise increases the cardio-respiratory fitness by:
• Lowering BLOOD PRESSURE
• Lowering BAD CHOLESTEROL (triglyceride)
• Increasing of GOOD CHOLESTEROL (HDL)
Psychological benefit – Exercise causes the body to release endorphins giving you an immediate feeling of well-being. Exercise also helps give you a positive attitude and improved quality of life.
Weight control – Exercise helps reduce obesity and the associated health risks.
Diabetes is not a curse and is completely manageable. The way I see it, this is lifes way of forcing us to life the healthiest lifestyle possible. It’s a blessing in disguise.
Train Smart, Train Elite