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How To Plan An Exercise Regimen with Type 1 Diabetes in Mind

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The thought of burning off those extra calories through exercise is thrilling.

However, with the Internet laden with different materials stating what training plans you should try out, when you should try it out, and diets that go alongside these activities, it might be overwhelming to take in at first. 

That said, if you have Type 1 diabetes, it might seem as though you have the entire library to consume within minutes.

Consequently, it’s normal to see people with this disease doubt engaging in any exercise form. 

Regardless of this fact, it’s crucial to note that exercise plays a vital role in managing Type 1 diabetes.

With an estimated 1.6 million Americans suffering from this condition, the question that remains unanswered most of the time is – are there any set workout plans to carry out?

While the scarcity of straightforward articles on this subject matter reigns supreme, this article seeks to change the narrative.

We take a closer look at Type 1 diabetes, some of its noteworthy symptoms, and how you can plan an exercise routine without experiencing any negative repercussions.

Type 1 Diabetes: What Does It Entail?

Before we head into the exercise plans for T1D patients, it’s crucial to overview the disorder itself.

Simply put, Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when your blood sugar becomes too high. This scenario happens when your body can’t make enough of a hormone known as “Insulin.” 

So, why can’t your body make insulin? Well, the reason is that your body invariably attacks the medium that creates the insulin needed in our bodies – the pancreas. 

Without insulin, the body can’t direct sugar to the cells needed to foster all bodily activities. Consequently, when there’s no insulin to divert glucose to the right quarters, sugar builds up, leading to Type 1 diabetes.

T1D, over time, can lead to complications including:

  • Kidney failure
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Eye defects
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Heart disease
  • Mouth and skin infections.

Consequently, if you have Type 1 diabetes, it’s essential to keep your sugar level in check by keeping fit, adhering to a strict diet, and incorporating lifestyle changes. 

Type 1 Diabetes: Any Tell-tale Symptom to Note?

According to StuffThatWorks, a commonly reported symptom from people who have Type 1 diabetes is dizziness.

Besides this popular symptom, the following might indicate the onset of Type 1 diabetes in an individual.

  • Overwhelming thirst
  • Increased fatigue
  • Feeling hungry even after eating
  • Frequent urination
  • Mood swings
  • Fruity breath
  • Heavy breathing
  • Weight loss (even if you’re eating large amounts of food)
  • Blurry vision

Controlling Type 1 Diabetes: Is There a Set Workout Routine to Incorporate?

We must issue a disclaimer before getting into the set workout routine that’s likely to work for you.

If you weren’t physically active before your T1D diagnosis, you must check in with your doctor for a complete physical examination. 

The results of this test will indicate whether or not you’re fit enough to engage in any physical draining activity. 

Why a Type 1 Diabetes Workout Plan Is Important

While you might not want to get that “summer body” just yet, incorporating some exercise forms into your lifestyle is bound to do you a great deal of good. 

With the right exercise plan in place, you can engage in activities that decrease your blood sugar levels.

Although you might need to undergo dietary changes to fuel your workouts, a reduced sugar level means that your insulin needs are also lessened.

When you exercise the right way, the chances of you relapsing into complications like kidney or heart failure are next to none. That said, even for a Type 1 diabetes patient, you’ll feel energized and eager to go regularly.

Type 1 Diabetes: Recommended Exercise Forms to Try Out

With Type 1 diabetes, sugar level reduction is a focal point. Hence, you have to engage in some exercises that are proven in line with this endeavor. 

To know if you’re benefiting from an activity, it’s essential to check your glucose levels before and after the workout. In this segment, we’ll be going through two exercise categories:

Cardiovascular (Aerobic) Exercise

Cardiovascular exercises, in simple terms, are activities geared towards increasing breathing and heart rate. According to the American Diabetes Association, engaging in aerobic exercises for 150 minutes every week is recommended.

Some notable mentions include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Engaging in sports like table tennis and basketball
  • Bike riding

The listed activities are sure to drain glucose levels in the body quickly. Consequently, it would be best to have them measured at intervals when you’re participating in these activities.

Strength Training Exercises

While aerobic activity is needed for glucose management in your fight to reduce the adverse effects of Type 1 diabetes, it’s important to consider strength training so that you can build and tone your muscles. It’s also recommended you carry out these activities alongside your aerobic exercise routines.

If you aren’t ready to take up heavyweights, you can take it easy by using your body weight as a form of resistance. How? By engaging in exercises like planks, push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, and squats. 

Repeating each exercise variation 12 – 15 times in 2 or 3 sets is advised. After each set, it’s essential to take breaks for up to 120 seconds (2 minutes). That way, you get more sets done efficiently.

Crafting Out an Actual Workout Routine

Now that you’ve gotten ahold of exercises you can perform regardless of your Type 1 diabetes status, you might want to hatch a plan you’ll follow to the letter. 

Although our preferences as individuals might differ, we’ve created a table to give you pointers when creating your workout routine:

DayWorkout Routine
MondayAerobics (spend 20 minutes on the treadmill and an extra 25 riding a bike)
TuesdayStrength training (do three sets of 15 push-ups)
WednesdayAerobics (jog around the neighborhood for 30 minutes)
ThursdayAerobics (play basketball with the boys for 20 minutes)
FridayStrength training (perform a 5-minute plank)
SaturdayAerobics (get to the local swimming pool and swim for 30 minutes)

Note: This table is mainly generic as it was drafted for instructional purposes only. Feel free to change, and if you can hit the 150-minute recommended weekly mark, that’ll be great for your glucose reduction journey.

Major Takeaway

While Type 1 diabetes might mark a drastic change in how your life pans out, it’s crucial to understand that you can be in control of proceedings through exercise. 

However, before you head into this endeavor, it’s essential to have a workout plan laid out. This regimen might include stamina development, reducing fat and amassing muscles, or bolstering bodily flexibility.

Irrespective of what they are, ensure to set attainable requirements for yourself. 

That said, whatever exercise form you decide to engage in, ensure that your doctor is in the loop. If you’re given the “green light,” remember that consistency is all you need to yield positive results.