There are numerous health benefits for runners, including higher metabolism, weight control, and better ability to sleep. Many of the perks that the average person receives from running are even more advantageous for a person living with diabetes. Typical diabetes management focuses on diet and nutrition. Not enough attention is paid to physical activity and how that affects blood sugar.
A regular exercise program such as running vastly improves your health in the following ways:
Lower blood glucose levels
Increased insulin efficiency
Utilization of glucose in the muscles without the aid of insulin
Improved cardiovascular health. (This alone is a good enough reason to put some miles behind you.)
Improves mood, optimism, confidence and energy
Before we go on, we must emphasize the cardinal rule for running with diabetes: Pay close attention to your feet! An untreated cut, scrape, blister or hangnail can lead to a foot ulcer. Diabetes restricts blood flow to the feet, decreasing their ability to heal. Foot ulcers, if left untreated, can sometimes lead to foot amputations. We cannot say it enough: pay attention to your feet!
Overall, there are two main considerations for the diabetic runner. Any individual, diabetic or not, should begin a new exercise program under the supervision of their doctor. For the person with diabetes, there are some extra considerations.
Blood sugar levels. Running definitely increases your all-around health and well-being. However, you still need to monitor your body’s levels of, well, everything. Blood sugar, carbohydrate intake, calories and the like are all affected by a workout regimen. If you treat your body the same way as before running, it could actually lead to more problems. Your insulin protocol will likely need frequent modifications as your body adjusts to your new activity level.
YOUR FEET. As mentioned above, you need to take care of your feet. A simple blister can lead to a foot ulcer, which can lead to a diabetic foot amputation. You don’t want this. If a blister or cut seems to be getting worse instead of better after a couple days, contact a doctor as soon as possible. There are shoes and socks designed to increase blood flow and help with blisters, which are recommended for people with diabetes.
With further questions about beginning a diabetic workout regimen, contact a Santa Fe foot doctor who can help. The podiatrists of Foot & Ankle Associates work with you to ensure the health and safety of your feet. Order our FREE book, Foot and Ankle Health Book, and give us a call at 505-982-0123.