Diabetes and Exercise!
Here is another submission to the DSMA Blog Carnival, this time for March. We were on the subject of exercise recently, discussing what was most difficult, what are preferences were, and so on. Here is my answer. Check out more at DSMA Blog Carnival.
The most difficult thing about managing diabetes and exercising for me is that I don’t like exercising in scheduled format but it’s what works for my diabetes management. Doing the same workout every day at the same time means predictable blood sugars. However, I really like doing different activities on different days and at different times of the day if I so choose. Since this doesn’t work best for me blood sugar wise, frustration with swinging glucose eventually wins.
One thing I’ve noticed that works is to lower my lantus insulin (basal rate if you have a pump) and I stay active as much as possible morning to night. So if I’m sitting in a chair typing as I am now, I am also holding my legs up for a leg workout. When I get up from here I do 20 jumping jacks. As I’m cooking in the kitchen I do squats. And when playing with the kids, I make sure to add in a game of swing the kids around and throw them up in the air into the mix. This works for major calorie burning but the constant activity every day helps my blood sugars. The problem with this? I DON’T want to do it every day so I let it run in phases. When I feel like going back to couch potato-like status for a week, I up my lantus again and try to stick to an easy exercise schedule.
As far as the type of exercises I prefer…I prefer to play a soccer match but that’s not possible now that I’m a mom and home all day. But I like variety, so one day I’ll do yoga and the next use the elliptical machine. I love Latin ballroom dancing (or any kind of dancing for that matter) and do it in the living room without a partner and I will dribble the soccer ball all around the apartment around the kids and their toys about once a week. Lately I have fallen for the kettle bell. The kettle bell has been the most challenging work out as of late. It causes me to break out in a sweat in only a few minutes. It’s the easiest way I’ve found to sculpt muscles into a different shape.
I stay motivated with every blood sugar test reminding me what I need to do (not that I follow through, but I do better than I used to). I also stay motivated out of practicality. I don’t have money for new clothes and the clothes I already own are perfectly good so I really need to stay the size I am. ACTUALLY…I’ve increased muscle tone by a whole lot and even though I weigh what I weighed when I got pregnant, my hips and waist are two sizes bigger! (SO unfair) So I’m wearing a third of the clothes I own and that motivates me pretty well to keep exercising and reshaping my body to what it once was. Just so I don’t have to go shopping. In fact, when I get back to the size I was, I will go shopping in my closet!
I know some people don’t enjoy exercise and I think it’s not that they don’t enjoy it so much as they haven’t found something they love to do or that works for them. For example, some people don’t like a gym atmosphere but also don’t feel motivated enough to work out alone so maybe they need to try walks with a friend or dance lessons or something different yet still social. Maybe certain exercises cause physical pain. It pays to try different things until you find what works. I know of some people whose only exercise option is swimming and those that do it reap huge rewards! Have you swam laps lately? It’s a major workout!
A series of injuries and major foot pain are what led me to the kettle bell so I didn’t have to stop exercising and luckily so because the kettle bell has given me the strength I need to keep picking up my kids who will soon hit 30 pounds in weight, each. Plus, since using the kettle bell I’ve been having less wrist, elbow, and shoulder pain. I have had carpel tunnel and tendonitis since my kids were born almost two years ago and I think carpel tunnel is a muscle imbalance and structural issue and the kettle bell has been rebalancing all those muscles in my arm, making the pain disappear. The tendonitis which is more an issue of inflammation has been alleviated since getting back better blood sugars caused by exercising. How can I not love exercise? Woohoo!