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Exercise prescription for diabetics-


Globally, diabetes is assuming epidemic proportions. It currently affects 246 million people worldwide and is expected to affect 380 million by 2025. Each year a further 7 million develop diabetes and each year 3.8 million deaths are attributable to it. Every 10 seconds a person dies from diabetes-related cause and two people develop diabetes. We all must realize the seriousness and immensity of the disease.


Diabetes is a serious medical condition, which gives rise to many complications if it is not managed properly. Many of its complications are life threatening. It can be managed efficiently by healthy lifestyle habits, exercise and medication. It has been found that diabetics neglect healthy lifestyle choices and exercise and, therefore, can not achieve optimal control over the disease.


Exercise- Exercise is a very important component of management of diabetes. Even some doctors fail to explain its value to the diabetics. The diabetics must follow a regular and consistent exercise program, which will help them in two ways by controlling weight and lowering blood sugar level. It will also improve their overall health.


A good exercise program should include aerobic exercise like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming etc, resistance exercises with resistance bands, weights or body weight and stretching exercises. The recommendations of guidelines of exercise are the same for diabetics and others. The standard guidelines of exercise recommendation are as follows.


Aerobic exercise for 30 minute at moderate intensity at least five days a week or 20 minutes at vigorous intensity three days a week and strengthening exercises twice a week working all major muscle groups of the body are recommended. Besides these, flexibility or stretching exercises working all body parts are also recommended twice a week.


The exercise schedule must be tailor-made for an individual diabetic in accordance with the above guidelines by an expert. A physical activity will have different effects on individual diabetics, as many other factors influence it. Therefore, some diabetics will experience better effects of exercise, whereas others will not. To get good results what is important is to be regular and consistent with an exercise schedule.


Precautions- Diabetics must observe the following precautions before and during an exercise program. This will help them achieve a good control over the disease and avoid any ill-effects of exercise.


  • Before starting any exercise, a thorough medical examination of the person should be done to evaluate his or her health status. In case of any concomitant disease present in the person, the prescription of exercise will be modified.
  • The exercise schedule must be prepared and customized by an expert, who should supervise it till the individual is well familiar with it.
  • The exercise schedule must be followed regularly to achieve optimal results.
  • A person, who has been physically inactive for some time, must undertake exercise slowly and build it up gradually. It is always better to go slow and steady with exercise. If one experiences any untoward feeling during exercise, one should stop immediately and consult one’s treating doctor.
  • Sometimes, hypoglycemia may occur during exercise. The hypoglycemia is a medical condition which occurs when blood sugar levels drop below normal levels. In diabetics, a blood glucose level below 70 mg/dl is considered hypoglycemia. If one feels dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, weakness or confusion during exercise, one must immediately stop and swallow some glucose tablets or sugar cubes, which all diabetics should keep with them while exercising. This must be reported to the treating doctor as well. These days the self-monitoring of blood glucose has become easy due to the availability of easy to handle glucometers. One can check the blood glucose level before exercise to avoid any occurrence of hypoglycemia. If the glucose level is found below 100 mg/dl, a small snack should be taken before starting exercise.
  • The diabetics must be very careful about any foot injury which may easily get infected. Any foot infection must be treated properly. They should wear comfortable shoes, which are not likely to cause foot injury. They must wear socks also which should be washed and changed frequently.
  • If a diabetic experiences any untoward symptom like any pain during exercise which was not experienced before, he or she should stop immediately and consult his or her treating doctor.


Since the exercise constitutes an important component of diabetes management, a regular and well formed exercise schedule is likely to have a positive effect. It may require a modification of prescription of drugs taken. So it is imperative to stay in contact with the clinician so that any modification in its management could be effectively initiated.




Article By: Dr. Pran Rangan

Views: 223
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