Ok, so it’s Winter Time, and I like many people find it harder to exercise. What is exercise? Most of you are probably about to close out my blog but, wait; it is a legit question. I feel that as people with diabetes, we don’t pay much attention to that question unless we are going to the gym or shoot some hoops on the B-Ball court. My challenge to you is for you to discover what exercise you have in your life.
For me, my most recent exercise was digging out my car while the past two major snowfalls. I didn’t know how to adjust because how much was it going to impact my blood sugars. Since slightly low blood sugar before exercise can mean an ambulance ride, I gravitate towards slightly higher blood sugar levels, so I had an 8 oz glass of OJ and started shoveling. I tested every half hour to see that my blood sugar was within reasonable range. I noticed the blood sugar spike high quickly but returned to normal by the time I was done. I followed up with another blood sugar reading a half hour later and still stabilized at a healthy level. I rechecked an hour after that to reconfirm the stable blood sugar levels and patted myself on the back.
An excellent way to figure out how your body may react to shoveling snow or any other exercise you are unsure of, is to go to http://www.livestrong.com/myplate/. Go to the fitness tab and enter the activity and it will tell you how many calories you will burn in that activity. You could compare it to an activity you already know how to adjust for and do the math.
If you would adjust your intake by drinking an 8 oz glass of OJ for an hour of Walking (briskly), which burns 483 cals per hour. Shoveling (over 15 lb. per min) causes a person to burn 731 cals per hour. You would then divide 731 by 483 = 1.5 (rounded) = drinking a 12 oz glass of OJ before shoveling per hour in a blizzard.
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.