Rhonda Cowern, DPT, Physical Therapist
Call Us Today: 1-435-210-1985

Diabetes and exercise…

Why would I need physical therapy?

Being active is a very important part of staying healthy with Type II, adult onset diabetes. A physical therapist can help discuss how incorporating exercise into your daily routine can affect your blood sugar and potential problems that can arise when you start to become active. Current research has found that regular and adequate exercise has the ability to lower your blood sugar which is important in controlling your diabetes. Not only does activity help you manage your diabetes it can also decrease the amount of insulin you need.

How much do I need?

Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That may sound daunting for those of you that struggle to find enough energy to make your meals or walk outside to the mailbox. If you haven’t been active in awhile it is ok to take it slowly. You can break it up into smaller chunks of time beginning with 5 minutes of sustained walking and build up to 20 minutes of strolling down the sidewalk or bike path daily. A physical therapist can design a program suited for your ability and personal goals.

A long term fitness recommendation from the American Diabetes Association = 30 minutes of moderateGet your custom exercise routine in Moab, Grand County, Utah exercise most days of the week. Moderate exercise is defined as going for a brisk walk, swimming / aqua jogging, or riding a bike to list a few ideas.

Who can help me?

Physical therapists can help you get started by teaching you how to monitor your blood sugars during exercise and teach you about red flags (cautions) with exercise and diabetes. You will be educated on when it is safe to exercise, when you may need a snack before exercise, or when to take the day off based on blood sugar levels. Monitoring your blood sugar and daily exercise are only part of controlling your Type II diabetes.

What are the risks of NOT exercising?

If you have not already been warned about circulatory compromise and reduced sensation in your feet then read on…diabetics do not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone, produced by the pancreas needed to allow glucose (sugar) to enter the cell and provide the energy necessary for daily activities. When the pancreas doesn’t produce adequate amounts of insulin, or when the muscle, fat and liver cells don’t respond to insulin properly, glucose builds up in the blood (hyperglycemia). This can be toxic to your cells. High blood sugar toxicity eventually causes decreased sensation to the bottom of your feet. Once you have decreased sensation you are susceptible to skin break down that can quickly become a non-healing wound. Most diabetics have compromised circulation along with decreased sensation. Both decreased circulation and sensation can turn a small cut/scrape on your foot into a foot ulcer or non-healing wound that needs medical intervention to prevent infection.

Help prevent skin break down with these quick tips:

a) Inspect the bottom of your feet regularly with a hand mirror
b) Check socks for holes before wearing them
c) Check inside your shoe for any debris/small pebbles before wearing.

Do your part to prevent foot ulcers and decrease your need for insulin. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Set up your program TODAY! Contact Rhonda Cowern, Physical Therapist and owner of Moab Physical Therapy. She can be reached for more information: moabpt.info@gmail.com

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