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Type 1 Diabetes and Exercise

Type 1 Diabetes and Exercise

Staying fit and engaging in regular exercise has many benefits, but for people who have type 1 diabetes, it is absolutely vital. Exercise helps to keep blood sugar levels in check and prevents long-term complications, such as heart disease. People with diabetes are prone to developing blocked arteries, which can cause a heart attack. Exercise helps to keep the heart strong and helps to maintains good cholesterol, which protects against arteriosclerosis. Exercise also increases insulin sensitivity in people with type 1 diabetes, which means that after exercising, the body is able to process carbohydrates using less insulin.

Before Starting to Exercise

Patients should consult their doctor before beginning an exercise program. They should receive a complete checkup to make sure that they are able to start exercising. Doctors can also recommend exercise programs that are suitable for each patient.

It is also important to set realistic goals before beginning to exercise. It takes time to build up stamina. Those who are just starting to exercise should start with simple exercises before attempting more complex and challenging routines.

Exercise Suggestions

There are 3 categories of exercise: flexibility training, strength training, and aerobic training. People with type 1 diabetes should aim to have a balance of all three types in their exercise routines.

1) Flexibility training

Flexibility training improves the function of joints and muscles. Stretching before and after a workout reduces muscle soreness and relaxes the muscles.

2) Strength training

Strength training helps to build efficient and lean muscles. It is also effective for maintaining healthy and strong bones. The most popular strength training technique is a form of resistance training that uses a person’s own body weight to build strength. Push-ups and pull-ups are examples of resistance training exercises.

Individuals should start a strength training program under the supervision of a professional. They should make sure that they know how to use the equipment properly. Individuals should also begin with light weights and ask a personal trainer to demonstrate proper form. It is recommended that individuals lift weights 2 or 3 times a week for half an hour.

3) Aerobic training

Aerobic exercises include walking, running, jogging, swimming, tennis, biking, and basketball. Doctors recommend that people who have type 1 diabetes complete a half hour of aerobic exercise up to 5 days a week to help keep their diabetes in check.  

Type 1 Diabetes and Exercise

Exercise is important for individuals with type 1 diabetes, as it can result in long-term health benefits. It is important for these individuals to keep active and make exercise a priority. Mixing up exercises can help to keep workouts interesting.


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Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.
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