Saturday, November 13, 2010

Feel the Burn

Current Blood sugar: 87...whoohoo...I love numbers like this!  After exercise with very little insulin left on board and it's almost time to eat lunch.  This is one of those times I start to think I have it all under control....better not get too sure of myself!

Today's Prompt: Unexpected Exercise – Raking leaves can be such a chore, but it can also be a great way to sneak in some exercise. What are some ways you sneak in some exercise? (And no, we don’t think “Jedi mind tricks” count!)

I have never been one for exercise.  I like doing outdoorsy type activities, hiking, biking, walking, etc...but tell me I have to exercise and I am likely to kick you in the shin (well not really, I am really a non-violent person!).  I just don't like exercising for the sake of exercising.

I do however like to be healthy and to stay in shape and if exercise is how that happens, well then so be it.  The need to exercise to maintain control of my diabetes is one of the positive sides of being diagnosed.  I now have something to force me to exercise.  I have positive results with long term management of my blood sugars when I exercise and I always feel better.  For a girl who lacked the motivation to exercise daily before my diagnosis, I have more motivation than ever to do it now.

I generally don't have to sneak in exercise since I plan exercise into my daily schedule.  I rotate riding my bike trainer, lifting weights, pilates, swimming laps and walking.  I do these things most every day or at least 4 times a week.  Scheduling exercise is the only way I can make it happen.

Exercise can definitely be a thorn in my side.  Take all of the scheduling, time, and motivation that most folks have to pull together to get an exercise routine that works and then add on trying to manage blood sugars before, during, and after exercise. 

Imagine eating, changing, getting all of your gear together and going to the gym, hoping on your bike, or heading out for a walk, only to find after you have laced up your kicks, that your blood sugar is too low.  Then imagine making the decision to either pack it all up and head home or consume more calories in juice or food than you will burn during your exercise just to be able to get through the session. 

Or imagine you are all ready to exercise and your blood sugar shows up at 250 or 300, way too high and too dangerous to exercise.  Or you have a perfect exercise session, a perfect blood sugar after the session, only to find 2 hours later that your blood sugar has risen to the 200's, 300's or even 400's.  Then you spend the rest of the day correcting with insulin for an exercise related high blood sugar.  Or how about a perfect exercise, perfect blood sugar and then the rest of the day your blood sugar plummets so that you are constantly stuffing your face to keep up with your body's need for carbs.  All because you didn't calculate your insulin and carbs correctly or you worked out harder than you planned. 

These are all of the things I face every single time I exercise.  It takes months of trial and error to get an exercise routine to the point of maintaining reasonable blood sugars before, during, and after exercise.  Not to mention, those things often change once your body becomes more efficient at that particular exercise.  It's an ongoing battle, one I face every day.  Can you see why it is so hard for diabetics to maintain a healthy exercise schedule? 

So back to the original question.  How do I sneak exercise into my schedule?  Everyday I feed and water the animals, carrying bags of feed and buckets of water.  Once a week I rake the chicken pen.  I clean the house on a daily basis.  I walk the dog, work in the garden and do yard work on a regular basis.  These are the things that make up my life and the things I love to do.  This is not exercise to me.  I guess they do fit into the guidelines for physical activity, so some folks would consider it exercise.  I am lucky enough to have a daily schedule that involves a lot of physical activity. 

Any and all physical activity affects my bloodsugar.  Twenty minutes of unplanned work in the yard can make me drop from a normal 130 or 150 to a 47 reading on my meter.  Housework and yardwork, daily chores...they all affect my blood sugar.  It is a lot of work to stay healthy.  However, I am grateful for the ability to exercise and take care of my home and family.  I am grateful I can reasonably manage an exercise schedule.  I just wish sometimes it could be a little easier. 


  1. I didn't realize excersize made such a difference.

  2. I am a friend of Don and Joan, they introduced me to your blog. I was encouraged to read this post! My parents stress my need for exercise and they are right but they don't understand what goes into a daily routine for a diabetic. I get very discouraged with the ups and downs that happen both to determine whether I can get out there and after exercise. Thank you for your encouragement. It helps to see that other people are having the same struggles and I am not just a "bad diabetic".