Type 1 Diabetes And Exercise

Type 1 diabetes, also once known as juvenile diabetes, occurs when the body begins to attack itself and destroy the very cells that produce insulin. Those with type 1 diabetes are aware of the monitoring requirements, as well as advice on following the proper diet, but what about exercise? Does this form of diabetes allow for physical activity?

Exercise helps the type 1 diabetic by using glucose. Burning off the excess glucose is important since there isn't enough insulin to transport it for energy needs so it is accumulating in the bloodstream. Since the glucose can't be removed, it is better to burn it up.

Imagine a car that is full of gas. You try to put more fuel in it (eating), but it is already full. So, your only option is to run the car (exercise) to burn off some fuel to make room for the fuel that you are trying to add (meals).

While exercise can't perfectly regulate elevated glucose levels, it can act as a way of bringing them down to a more reasonable level. This is especially important after a meal when levels will shoot up from the intake of food. Since after a meal is the prime time for levels to dramatically increase, this is also a good time to exercise.

How much exercise is needed? The recommended amount is four to five times per week for at least 30 minutes each episode. The best exercises are aerobics and strength training. It is also important that the individual incorporate flexibility into their routine. Pacing yourself and making sure not to overdo it is also crucial.

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