Diabetes and summer fun: Let’s get moving!

Spring has finally sprung. The long awaited warmer weather has arrived. Most of us will be heading outside and becoming more active! Before we start enjoying these solo and group activities, let’s take a few minutes to review the best ways to stay safe in the months ahead!

Whether you are a confirmed “couch potato” or seasoned runner, it is important to start slowly and build tolerance to any physical activity. Avoiding any undo stress and strain will decrease the risk of injury and allow you to enjoy all the benefits of better health. If you haven’t been particularly active and feel unsure about your health, check with your health care provider before starting any new regimen. Depending on your personal medical history of diabetes related complications (heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, foot ulcers, and vision issues), you may be advised to avoid certain strenuous activities.

Warm up exercises ( like stretching movements) for several minutes before the actual activity (and cooling down afterwards) will enhance blood flow to your muscles and lower the risk of injury. Avoiding extremes in temperatures, and staying hydrated, will lower stress and strain on your body.

Many healthcare providers encourage you to check your glucose levels before any planned activity, as well as during the activity (if it lasts an extended time period, such as over an hour). Have an available fast acting carbohydrate food/fluid item available in the event of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Consider wearing a medical identification tag of some sort (bracelets or necklaces, or wallet inserts) in case of a diabetic related emergency. Along the same line, also carry your cell phone with you in case you need to call for emergency assistance. On a related side note, pay close attention to your feet and those gym shoes. Make sure the shoes fit well to prevent any blisters/ cuts from occurring, and inspect your feet after all activities for any signs of irritation.

Activities, such as walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling, are some great ways to incorporate fun into your summer. Consider trying them out with family and friends (“the more, the merrier!”), and reap the benefits of better health, possible weight loss, stress reduction and even improved sleep patterns.

Remember: Aim for 30 minutes of exercise at least 5 days a week ( 150 minutes a week).

Have a great summer!

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