Most people have heard how vital exercise is in the management and prevention of Diabetes. But did you know that if you have the condition you need to take extra precautions when exercising in hot weather?
One of the risks for diabetics is that they can experience hypoglycaemia, which occurs when glucose levels in the blood fall too low, this is also known as having low blood sugar. Some of the symptoms include dizziness, sweating, and even confusion. These symptoms will be familiar if you have ever spent too long in the sun as they are symptoms of heat exhaustion. For this reason diabetics need to be particularly careful when exercising in the heat so as to make sure that symptoms of low blood sugar aren’t confused and thought of as just too much sun.
Tips for exercising safely in the heat
Some ways to stay safe in the heat include:
Make sure that you don’t forget to Slip Slop Slap
Be generally sun safe. Sunburn can put extra stress on the body which can raise your blood glucose.
People with diabetes can have problems with sensation in their extremities such as their feet. Exercising without shoes, for example walking along the beach, is not recommended, as you may not be able to feel if the ground is too hot.
Have a look at the packaging for any medication you are taking
This ensures safe storage to ensure safe storage. High summer temperatures can effect medications, insulin pumps, glucose meters and test strip packages. Make sure you don’t leave any medication or equipment in a hot car!
Keep hydrated and take rests when needed
Older adults with diabetes can have a particularly reduced capacity to handle heat during exercise so resting and staying hydrated are essential. Exercise itself leads to increased sweating and therefore loss of water and uncontrolled blood glucose can further lead to loss of water through excess urination, creating an increased risk for dehydration.
Always carry a snack
Carry suitable carbohydrate based snack such as jelly beans, no matter what you are doing, to help if your blood glucose levels drop
Think about the temperature
Exercise in the cooler parts of the day like in the morning or evening, or exercise inside to minimise the stress on the body. Exercise is still recommended for diabetics and the rest of the population even when the temperatures do begin to rise for the summer.
Exercise smart and stay safe
Following these simple tips will help you to exercise smart and stay safe. So get out there and take advantage of the positive effects of exercise!