A diabetic athlete faces additional challenges to conquer round-the-clock that most athletes don’t need to think about. A diabetic athlete or someone who is not an athlete yet needs to exercise to improve their health needs to monitor their diabetic diet and exercise plan very closely. Unfortunately, these candidates who are partaking in an exercise routine and diet plan simultaneously are more prone, than many other categories of athletes, to becoming injured or passing-out. They are likely to get discouraged and give-up quickly because these challenges may seem to be too overwhelming and difficult for them to conquer. They may need to take a one-day-at-a-time approach. They may need to make sure they pat themselves on the back everytime they are successful with sticking to a healthy Diabetic Diet Plan or exercise plan for awhile and not be hard on themselves if their diet plan takes a wrong turn or their workout routine doesn’t happen for awhile. They may benefit from finding another person to diet and exercise with. Especially if the other person is effective at motivating or coaching them. They may also need to stay away from the people who try to dangle cupcakes and candy bars in front of them. They may need to tell those people they will need to maintain their relationship with them via telephone and e-mail communication only. Managing blood sugar levels efficiently will help a diabetic athlete perform better. The combination of a healthy diabetic diet and an effective workout routine will help improve a diabetic’s health, lifespan and quality of life.
TYPE I DIABETICS:
Managing blood sugar levels is even more difficult for Type I Diabetics than it is for Type II Diabetics. A Type I diabetic’s body does not produce insulin at all. A Type I Diabetic should closely monitor their insulin levels frequently every day, especially if they are an active athlete A Diabetic Diet includes diligently trying to match their insulin intake with their food intake so their blood sugar levels will be between 80 and 120 most of the time. Oral medications aren’t likely to help a Type I Diabetic Taking shots twice each day will probably not be sufficient for a Type I Diabetic. A Type I Diabetic really needs to meet with at least one Diabetic Nutritionist periodically over time to develop a personalized diabetes diet plan that will suit their individual needs. A diabetes diet plan will need to be moulded for you over time and adjusted as your body’s needs change. Getting the opinion of more than one Diabetic Nutritionist can also be beneficial. Different people need different amounts of insulin to correct a high blood sugar. For example, a young child will probably need a very small dosage of insulin to lower their blood sugar level from 150 to 100. A fifty year old 200 lb. man would probably need a much larger dosage than a young child would to adjust his 150 blood sugar level to 100. A 50 year old 300 lb. man would need a much larger dosage than the 200 lb. 50 year old man would to adjust his blood sugar levels from 150 to 100. In other words, different people need different amounts of insulin to lower their blood sugar levels. Different people need less or more food intake to correct low blood sugar. One diet, exercise and insulin plan does not fit all. You and a Diabetic Nutritionist should monitor your diabetes diet plan, exercise program and insulin intake over a period of time in order to be able to successfully manage your blood sugar levels and alleviate or eliminate symptoms of diabetes. A diabetes diet plan will need to be customized to satisfy your body’s needs.
Insulin is a hormone that helps the human body convert excess carbs (and sometimes proteins) into a source of energy, or into glycogen storage. If your cells don’t currently need sugar (or energy) and your glycogen storage is full, your insulin will help convert the excess sugars into fat. Insulin is a vehicle that allows sugars to pass through cell walls. If too many carbs (and sometimes proteins) are consumed, then not much exercise is exerted, your body will convert those excess sugars into glycogen storage in your body. Most people have 2 to 3 days worth of glycogen storage in their bodies. Once your glycogen storage is full, insulin converts the excess sugars in your body into fat. If too little insulin is presant in your body, those sugars will accumulate in your blood stream. Unmanaged blood sugar levels that are frequently high can cause you to drop weight quickly and will be harming your body because the excess sugar that will linger in your blood stream will be damaging your organs gradually over time.
It is important to not have a depleted glycogen storage level and no sugars in your system just before you exert exercise. You will not perform as well as you ordinarily would if your body must tap into your fat storage as a source of energy while you are exercising or competing. If you are in danger of having empty glycogen storage levels, you should consume some simple carb or complex carb foods immediately before you exercise, see also: Article – A Healthy Diet includes the proper ratio of Carbs, Proteins & Fats. Type I Diabetics should always check their blood sugar levels immediately before they exercise and consume the proper amount of carbs and or carbs matched with some fats to help them keep their blood sugar levels in a reasonable range during their workout. They should also carry simple carb food and/or beverage, possibly an energy drink, with them in case their blood sugar level drops too low while they are exercising. If you are a 200 lb. 40 year old man and you and your Diabetic Nutritionist have concluded: * you need to consume 1 unit of fast acting insulin to drop your blood sugar levels by 50 points * you need 15 g of simple carbs to raise your blood sugar levels 50 points If during your workout you feel like your blood sugar level is low. You check your blood sugar level and discover your blood sugar level is at 70. You may choose to consume 1 can of a sugared carbonated beverage that reads 41 g carbs on its label. That should quickly raise your blood sugar level to more than 200 if you don’t already have insulin active in your system. Only 6 oz. of sugared carbonated beverage would have been enough to more than correct the low blood sugar level It is easy to over-do it when you are trying to correct a low blood sugar level. Caution: When your blood sugar level drops low, you will probably become so hungry, you will want to eat a large quantity of food. You will probably want to eat much more food than you really need to eat to correct your low blood sugar reading. If you eat too much all of a sudden your blood sugar level will probably rise too high and you won’t be able to workout or compete nearly as well as you would have been able to if your blood sugar level had been in the normal range. If you consume 1 12 oz. can of a sugared carbonated beverage immediately before you exercise, your blood sugar levels will rise quickly, however, they will also lower again quickly. If you consume 1 12 oz. can of a sugared carbonated beverage immediately before you exercise and you eat 1 slice of cheese that has some fat in it; your blood sugar will rise, fairly quickly, but not as quickly as it would have if you had not eaten the cheese. The fat in the cheese will slow down the rate at which your blood sugar will rise. Your blood sugar levels will also stay high longer if you consume the cheese with the sugared beverage. If you consume too much fatty food with the sugared beverage. Your blood sugar will stay high for a much longer period of time. If you are about to be exercising for a prolonged time. Consuming food that has some fat in it with a food that has carbs in it can be very beneficial.
Being in a routine can be very beneficial for a diabetic. I know of one Type I Diabetic who tries to consume the exact same breakfast every morning at about the same time of day every morning. His breakfast is always oatmeal with a sweetener. Sometimes he adds unsweetened flavorings like, caramel, amaretto, chocolate, rasberry, etc. sometimes he just sprinkles cinnamon on top and stirs that in. (Cinnamon and cinnamon supplements have been proven to help diabetics manage their blood sugar levels). He knows how much fast acting insulin he needs to consume to match the amount of oatmeal he is consuming. He is consuming a significant amount of fiber every day, which is good for him. His blood pressure and cholesterol levels are in the normal range. He figures he has at least one meal out of his day managed well even if he gets off track at some time during the rest of his day. This same person also consumes other foods that are good for Diabetics to eat Sometimes he endulges in large quantities of cabbage. Cabbage has little effect on blood sugar levels. It is a food that he eats when he is in the mood to overeat. His favorite way to prepare cabbage is with a little bit of broth from corned beef. Sometimes he dresses up cooked cabbage with vinegar and mustard. Lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, green beans, celery are other ‘free-for-all’ foods that he will eat in large quantities sometimes because he knows those foods won’t have a dramatic impact on his blood sugar levels.
A great exercise plan definitely helps a Diabetic have better control of their blood sugar levels and it can dramatically improve their athletic performance level. Exercise helps people maintain a high ratio of muscle-to-fat in their body which dramatically helps their overall health while they are at rest.
THE INSULIN PUMP:
The same person I have talked about previously has been able to manage his Diabetes better with the insulin pump than without the insulin pump. There is technology now that will allow a device to be implanted just below the skin of a Diabetic. The device has the ability to communicate with the insulin pump continuously. This device has recently become available to the general public. Anyone who has this device implanted and is using the insulin pump will be able to push a button on their pump at any time and get their recent blood sugar readings. They will no longer need to poke themselves every time they want to check their blood sugar level.
TYPE II DIABETICS:
These diabetics face the same challenges as the Type I Diabetics however, their body is producing some insulin. These diabetics need to inject additional insulin to correct their blood sugar levels. They also need to be careful to not let their blood sugar levels drop too low. Type II Diabetics can have Diabetes for a long time and not realize they have it. Type II Diabetics tend to acquire this disease gradually over a long period of time. One of the challenges many Type II Diabetics face is the tendency to ignore their diabetes. It is more difficult for Type I Diabetics to ignore their Diabetes; simply because their bodies aren’t producing any insulin at all. Their blood sugar levels can have very dramatic swings up and down. When someone becomes a Type I Diabetic they become sick suddenly. They may think they have the flu. They will very likely become hospitalized. Many Type II Diabetics think: * they aren’t that bad and don’t need to put much effort into managing their diabetes * they don’t have to check their blood sugar levels if they are in the normal range most of the time. * they don’t need to take the shots, they can get by with just the oral medications. * 1 or 2 cookies won’t hurt. Well Ok, I really had 5, but I don’t do this very often. I can eat that cake or pie, It’s a Holiday. You can’t expect me to behave on a Holiday. Some Diabetics think they can get away with drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking too. Most people don’t want to face reality completely and admit that they really do need to behave and if they get off the wagon for a little while, they need to get back on it as soon as possible. Uncontrolled diabetes will cause your quality of life to decrease dramatically as you age. Diabetics have significant choices to make. They can exercise and manage their food and insulin intake well and enjoy a long and healthy life. They can also not exercise and manage their food and insulin intake well. If they choose this route, they will likely suffer many health problems as their life progresses. They may lose their eye sight. They may lose the feeling in their extremities. They may need to have extremities cut-off. This is a very serious disease when it is unmanaged. Managing diabetes requires significant self-discipline for any diabetic, including a diabetic athlete. With a tremendous amount of knowledge about how to manage diabetes and really making a dramatic effort every day to get plenty of exercise and do the best you can to stay on your personalized diabetes diet plan your diabetes can be managed well. Diabetics should consult an Internal Medicine Doctor before beginning a new exercise plan or insulin routine.
Written by: Dawn Perucca