No matter your age, race, or income level, living with diabetes comes with no guarantees. The best way to get on top of it is to stay as healthy as possible. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to take care of yourself.
While diabetics aren’t at a higher risk of getting the coronavirus than others, you could be at risk for more severe complications if you do contract the virus. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you need to be sure to keep your blood sugar controlled. According to WebMD, high blood sugar levels can cause a weakening of the immune system. This results in an inability of the system to combat infections.
To avoid getting the virus, your best bet is to stay home whenever possible. If you must go out, be sure to observe social distancing rules by maintaining at least a six-foot distance from others. Be sure to wash your hands often, as well as before and after disinfecting the site of any finger sticks or insulin shots. Minimize contact with those who are sick.
It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle during a pandemic. Check out how proper food and exercise choices can help.
Fitness and Physical Activity
Be sure to make time for physical activity. If your job is on hold due to a shelter-in-place order, there’s no better time to begin an exercise regime. By changing up your routine, you can quell some of the boredom many feel due to social isolation.
Early mornings are an excellent time to take a walk and get the blood pumping. Walking is a low impact workout that most can manage. Even a few minutes a day at a steady pace can help improve your overall health.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), if you’re new to exercising or adding in a new routine, it’s best to begin slowly. Start off with 5 to 10 minutes of gentle exercise. Begin by parking farther away from the store or skipping the elevator in favor of the stairs. Make a few laps of the living room while waiting for your favorite show to resume.
Once you’re comfortable with light activity, you can increase it. There are lots of options that don’t include going to the gym. Join the kids on a bike ride or a walk in the woods. Enjoy some fresh air and tend your garden, plant flowers, or wash your car. If you have the room, try some lunges, twists, leg lifts, and arm stretches. These exercises are easy to accomplish while still maintaining a six-foot distance.
Take Care During Exercise
If you have type 1 diabetes, it’s extremely important to understand how to balance your diet and insulin doses with the physical activities you take part in. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), you should get familiar with how your body reacts to exercise in order to prevent a drop in blood sugar. Factors to consider are:
- Blood sugar level prior to activity
- How intensive the exercise
- How long you are active
- Any changes to your insulin dose
Plan ahead by having a supply of foods or drinks available to raise your blood sugar quickly. Check your levels before, during, and after you work out so you can accurately determine how you react to any change in activity levels. You know your body best, listen to what it tells you.
While physical activity is a large part of living healthy with diabetes, the foods you eat are equally important. By planning meals and controlling portions, you can not only better manage your blood sugar level but may shed some excess weight.
Carb counting is a good way to ensure you’re not filling up on foods that will turn to glucose, which can adversely affect your body. By checking the nutrition labels and adding up the grams of carbohydrates, you can create a meal plan that works for you. In the event your supermarket is affected by the pandemic, have an idea of alternative foods you could choose should your favorites be sold out.
How a Healthy Lifestyle can Improve Life with Diabetes
Staying healthy through diet and exercise can leave you feeling better than ever. It not only helps lower blood pressure and blood glucose levels, but it can improve your sleep. It could also result in weight loss and is great for your circulation. It can even improve your mood and help fight the effects of social isolation. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s important to keep your spirits up.
This guest post was graciously provided by Farlyn Lucas