Exercise Protocols for the Diabetic

If you are reading this post and you have diabetes, then you already know that there are two types of diabetes type 1 and type 2. Type 1 mainly occurs in juveniles but may be diagnosed as an adult. Mayoclininc.org states that 5-15% of all diabetics are type 1. Type 2 diabetes is usually is diagnosed in patients who are overweight. This is also a common condition for Hispanics and blacks mainly due to diet. In this post, I am going to explain the exercise protocols for diabetes mellitus before, during, and after exercise. 

Post-Rehab Criteria 

Before a diabetic considers an exercise program, they should be able to meet these four criteria before beginning.  

  1. Have medical clearance and approval from a physician 

  2. The client must be able to self-monitor their glucose levels 

  3. Client blood pressure must be within acceptable levels 

  4. Blood glucose levels should not be lower than 90 or higher than 240 

Pre-Workout Protocols 

The exercise session should begin with a long warm-up. The muscles of a diabetic client may take longer to warm up.  

Biking and walking are acceptable choices that should be conducted at a low- intensity followed by dynamic stretching. You should know your blood glucose levels before the start of the program as exercise has an insulin-like effect on the body. Being aware of your glucose levels before exercise will help to prevent hypoglycemia.  

As a diabetic, your muscles may take longer to warm up. Give your body time for a long warm up (at least 10 minutes) before a low-intensity exercise like biking or walking.

As a diabetic, your muscles may take longer to warm up. Give your body time for a long warm up (at least 10 minutes) before a low-intensity exercise like biking or walking.

During Workout Protocols 

Start with weights or machines training the larger muscle groups first. If you have not exercised in a long time, then I would recommend doing only one set of 10 repetitions per exercise. The session should not last longer than 60 mins and should also be low-intensity longer duration.  

At the beginning of your exercise program, it is recommended that blood glucose levels should be checked every 30 minutes during the workout and every 15 minutes after. This is done to see how the exercise is affecting your glucose levels during and after the session is done. This will also help your physician make decisions on medication adjustments needed to accommodate a more active lifestyle.  

Post-workout Protocols 

At a minimum, you should give yourself a 10-minute cool down. This can be done by stretching or walking slowly on a treadmill allowing your heart rate to normalize. 

As mentioned before, blood glucose levels should be checked after the workout. A snack or juice should be readily available to help combat levels of hypoglycemia. You should also check your feet for blisters and change shoes if necessary. 

If figuring out time intervals and the right exercises to do seems like too much to figure out on your own, I would highly recommend seeing a medical exercise specialist or post-rehab and conditioning specialist. Your average personal trainer may not be able to help you in the same way as someone trained to work with medical conditions. 

Create a Customized Workout 

Here, at Dynamic Fitness, a specific exercise program can be created just for you and your health needs. Our knowledgeable personal trainer Maurice Harden will help you every step of the way.  Call or text Dynamic Fitness and Medical Training to find out more.