Exercise should be part of every diabetic's day. Fact. Benefits include everything from improved circulation and weight management to benefits for the heart and improved metbolism, meaning the body will use the insulin better.
The pros say that every diabetic should try to exercise for 30 minutes a day. This is probably true for anyone really, but for diabetics, the subject is even more pertinent.
However, exercise is a diabetic minefield of its own really. Like many people, I always believed that exercise (expending energy) would automatically lower sugars (by using up energy). It seems obvious and common sense - perhaps the reason I used to get so frustrated when I would exercise and come out of the gym with sugars higher than when I went in! Definately not worth me swapping a biscuit and junk tv for 30 minutes sweating on a cross trainer anyway!
The problem with exercise, particularly strenuous exercise, is that it causes the body to produce a range of chemicals includng adrenaline, which will raise your sugars by making you insulin resistant. I'm not entirely sure why it does this or what the benefit may be, but I have no doubt it all boils down to the fight or flight situation. Doesn't it all?
The challenge is trying to negotiate what to do. When you sugars are high, you risk raising them more by exercising, so sometimes, gente exercise can be more beneficial as you are less likely to produce adrenaline if you are strolling round the park. The thing is, I don't see strolling round the park as exercise. I only feel really great after a work out, when I have thrashed it out with a cross trainer for half an hour.
The other option, is to give yourself a dose of insulin before you exercise. Apparently many diabetic athletes do this, because they know how much exercise they will need, and do this so often they have fine tuned just how much insulin they will need to tide them over. As much as I would love to think I am at atheletic standard, and could apply the same mathematics to my own work outs, I would be lying. Getting out of bed sometimes feels like strenuous exercise to me! And I usually need a good old lie down after more than 30 mins at the gym. I'm not sure Sir Redgrave has the same problem! I would highly doubt it anyway.
Today I decided to go to the gym, with thoughts of diabetes and weddings at the back of my mind. I had a low right before my work out, so thought I would disconnect from the pump (having read that others often do this) so that I wouldn't have the riskof falling low during my work out. I thought that seeing as I wasn't high before hand, I had a much lower chance of hitting the high notes. How wrong I was.
I started off at 9.8mmol. Now this is on the higher side of the scale, but not anything to worry about as such. I wouldn't normally be worrying about doing correction doses at this level, or be worrying that I would seing much in each direction by exercising. I was hoping it might nudge me back down again before dinner. Again, how wrong I was. I ended up checking my sugars just before dinner, and was hanging out up in the high teens, at 19.3! By this point, my arms and legs were aching, I'm feeling muggy and frankly a bit slow, and am more than a little pissed at the result!
I guess the answer is to keep trying to find out what it is I need to do when I execise in order to stop myself from going to high or too low. It just seems very much like a brick wall when yo do something which supposedly benefits you, but ends up being a pain in the ass to fix!