Hey Peter Cottontail, you are not the only one feeling lively with the dawn of Spring. With longer periods of daylight and warmer temps, folks are moving more and brewing up fitness goals. If like me, my diabetes is something I have to keep tabs on daily, but with an influx in exercise, I especially have to assess and measure it more. As a refresh, here is a laundry list of areas to consider to have optimal blood sugar control with an enjoyed workout:
- Pick a form of exercise that makes you feel alive (like a kid) and assess what type of shape you are in before jumping in. Have you been hibernating more this winter than wearing out your tennis shoes? If yes, make a point to take additional steps before starting the exercise as it will impact your insulin sensitivity more drastically than if it’s a routine event. Quick example – I had a baby girl last summer and took a good 3 months off before pushing it hard in the gym again. With this drastic change of initiating set exercise, I had to further tinker a snack before my workout, further adjust a temp basal 30-60 minutes before the exercise and/or also cut my basal rate/insulin requirements while working out.
- Hydration is so important. Drink half your weight in ounces, and then for exercise drink an additional ~10 ounces every 10-20 minutes of exercise. Herbal teas, coffees, sodas, etc, do not count towards this goal. And periodically tally how many ounces you are drinking. It’s funny, when I have clients write their food and drinks down, we often underestimate food, and overestimate water. If you plan to sweat longer than an hour, plan to include some electrolytes with the water. You can opt for a healthy non-Gatorade option too. Heat is also to be considered with these estimated needs. Know that when you have a sense of thirst, you are already behind on your water needs.
- Start small (with fitness). I was so thrilled when a number of my friends joined my gym a few months back, and with that they all wanted to do every offered class from spin classes, to other high intensity workouts, etc, daily. As I was excited to join in, I also knew I needed to be more cautious and assess when I’d be ready to partake in such. Things I wanted to think through was what time of the day was the class? I do best about 60-90 minutes after a meal, or having a class right before lunch. This way I can plan to have a base of food to help nurture stable blood sugars coming off the exercise, and I’d adjust how much of the meal I’d cover with my insulin dose. Not only does the timing of meals around an exercise matter, but so does the overall time of day. For an evening or late afternoon workout, I will have to cut insulin needs more than if the same exercise were in the morning. This is to be something to self experiment with; I am not suggesting all fellow diabetics should do what I do. It’s helpful to take notes and review this stuff.
- Have a workout goody bag. Perhaps I can have a better name for this, but have some forms of sugar (fast acting and stabilizing foods) handy. I used to use glucose tabs as they could help me precisely estimate how many I needed based on a low blood sugar, but now I have moved onto using either fruit leathers or dates. I also carry Quest bars with me. They are a great option to lift my sugars post workout at a slower rate, but also hold them at a good level. For a cardio class I will have about half the bar before hand, blood sugar pending, and the remainder if needed post-workout. I test (BG), I don’t guess, after classes as my senses can be off with the work I put myself through. Another good bar option pre-workout include these mini Raw Rev bars, and post workout, these protein Raw Rev Glo bars.
- Give the instructor a heads-up that you are new to the class and you may need to step aside in the middle of class to take care of your blood sugar. If you feel a little uncomfortable, maybe send them an email before hand or just let them know you can have episodes of hypoglycemia. Wearing emergency alert bracelets, etc is also a brilliant idea.
These are just a few things to remind ourselves to do when getting back to a fitness routine. However, I am sure I have a few things missing; I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what your go-to practices are.
Cheers to you and good health,