According to ACE, there is a right way and a wrong way to embark on an exercise program. But for the nearly 26 million children and adults with diabetes in the United States, that distinction is even greater. Exercise uses glucose as a fuel, making it an effective way to control blood sugar levels. It can lower blood sugar levels for hours, sometimes up to 24 hours for vigorous activity. If levels dip too low (referred to as hypoglycemia), this can be dangerous. Severe hypoglycemia can lead to unconsciousness, seizures, coma and even death. That’s why ACE advises individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to take the following precautions:
· Always check with a physician prior to beginning a physical-activity program and return regularly to assess the diabetic complications.
· Monitor your glucose before and after exercise to understand how you respond to certain types of activities.
· Exercise with a partner and wear an ID bracelet indicating your diabetic condition.
· Advise coaches and fitness instructors of your condition so that they can make specific recommendations for your work-out and be alert for symptoms of low blood sugar.
· Individuals with type 1 diabetes should also carry a light snack that is high in carbohydrates in case energy is needed immediately.
Exercise is at the forefront in the prevention, control and treatment of diabetes. As the largest NCCA-accredited nonprofit fitness certification organization in the world, ACE provides quality continuing education and specialized training for fitness professionals, including advanced training to work with individuals with diabetes, so that everyone can live their most fit lives.
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