Regular exercise is a very important part of the treatment of diabetes. Individuals with diabetes should however consult with their healthcare providers so that they can have some medical examinations carried out on them before starting an exercise schedule. This is so because some diabetic complications can be made worse by certain types of exercises. An example is jogging which may lead to further complications in those with diabetic retinopathy (damage to the inner portion of the eye by diabetes).
It is advised that the exercise should be done for at least thirty minutes in a day and for at least four days in a week. During exercise, the muscles in the body make use of the glucose in the blood, thereby helping to control the blood sugar level. Exercises that can be carried out include bicycle riding, swimming, dancing, brisk walking and gardening. For those who have not exercised in a long while, the exercise schedule should be started gradually; initially for a few minutes and then increasing the duration after some days.
Exercise should not be undertaken if the blood sugar level is below 60mg/dl (3.3mmol/l) as it may lead to hypoglycaemia (dangerously low blood sugar levels) or above 300mg/dl (16.6 mmol/l) as it may lead to ketoacidosis (excessive production of acids called ketones in the blood).
Adequate amounts of water should be taken before and after the exercise. Exercising should be part of the lifestyle of individuals with diabetes. It not only helps in controlling the blood sugar level but also enhances physical fitness.