How can I stay safe when exercising outdoors if I have diabetes?

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Diabetics are at risk of experiencing hypoglycemia. When training outdoors you should avoid exercising in extreme heat or for extended periods of time. Exercising in extreme heat or for extended periods of time my bring about hypoglycemia which can cause mild symptoms such as nausea, cold, clamminess,  or increased heart rate to severe symptoms such as seizures, convulsions, or loss of consciousness. Limit exposure to heat and avoid extremely long bouts of exercise. Increase safety by measuring blood sugar levels before and during exercise. You can also have candy or a drink on hand for a quick source of glucose.

Here are some things to keep in mind when exercising outdoors if you have diabetes:

  • Drink up -- Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your activity.
  • Shoe fetish -- It's all about comfortable, properly sized shoes. If you are unsure of what type of shoe you should use, talk to your health care team.
  • Keep an eye out -- If you take insulin or a medication that can cause hypoglycemia, check your blood glucose levels before and after your activity, and periodically during exercise if it will last longer than an hour.
  • Supply and demand -- If you are exercising for more than 30 minutes, supply yourself with a snack to keep blood glucose levels in check.
  • Chance of sun 100% -- Apply sun protection factor (SPF) 30 sunscreen at least 30 minutes before exercising outdoors -- and reapply often. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.