Too Fit to Quit

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Archive for the 'Type I Diabetes' Category

Do you think because you’re diabetic you can’t workout?

Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. “Studies show that exercise improves a variety of glucose measure, including tissue sensitivity, improved glucose tolerance, and even a decrease in insulin requirements” (NASM 386).

First, let’s take a look at the 2 different types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes (Insulin-dependent diabetes):

This is typically found in younger individuals, and it impairs normal glucose management. There is a lack of insulin being produced, which means that blood sugar is not optimally delivered to the cells, which results in hyperglycemia (or high levels of blood sugar).

Why is this important to note if you are planning to begin a workout regimen?

“Because exercise increases the rate in which cells utilize glucose” (NASM 386). So, if you don’t control your blood glucose levels before, during, and after exercise, your blood sugar can drop rapidly, causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

How can you avoid this? By making sure you have carbs before and after your workout. (You may even need them during your workout depending on the intensity and longevity).

Type 2 Diabetes (Adult-onset diabetes)

This is associated with obesity, particularly abdominal obesity. If you have type 2 diabetes, your body usually produces adequate amounts of insulin, but your cells are resistant to it.

Here’s a summary of general guidelines for working out if you are a member of this population:

-Aim to burn between 1,000 and 2,000 calories a week, progressing as is tolerable for you

-If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, check your glucose frequently (before, during, and after exercise) until you become more aware of your body.

-Begin with a low intensity program, (50-90%) gradually increasing workout duration to 60 minutes, as tolerable, 5-7 times a week

-Pre- and post-workout carbohydrate consumption is recommended to avoid hypoglycemia

-Resistance training should start at 1-3 sets of 8-10 exercises, 10-15 reps each, 2-3 days a week (for normal weight healthy adults)

Any questions, email me! Thanks for reading and check back for the installment in our Special Populations seriesJ


Clark, M.A., Lucett, S.C., Corn, R.J. (2008). NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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