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Tips on exercise for diabetics

Publish date: 28/04/2014

Tags: Diabetes , Exercise

Exercise is extremely important whether someone has diabetes or not.

Exercise helps with the control of blood glucose levels, weight management and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Amongst other things, it can also improve mental health, reduce stress levels and enhance sleep.

There are many different ways to exercise and at many different intensity levels. The Health and Fitness guidelines on the NHS choices website, contains advice about exercise for people at different stages in their life.

If you have diabetes and are taking certain medications to lower your blood glucose levels you could be at risk of an episode of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) during or after exercise.

If you know that you’re about to exercise you may need to increase the amount of carbohydrate before exercising, reduce the amount of medication you’ve taken to cover the carbohydrate in an earlier meal, have a snack during the course of exercising or a combination of all three.

Have some glucose tablets or a sugary drink to hand to help deal with any hypoglcaemic episodes should they occur. You should also watch out for symptoms of hypoglycaemia for the following 24 hours. 

It’s important that someone else exercising in the same place as you is aware that you have diabetes so they can act promptly and accordingly should you have an episode of disabling hypoglycaemia. If exercising alone or the exercise is in a more remote area, you should let someone know where you’re going and carry something that identifies that you have the condition. 

For more information about diabetes and exercise, Visit

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