Ok, so it’s Winter Time, and I like many people find it harder to exercise. Which leads us to what is exercise? Most of you are probably about to close out my Blog, WAIT it is a legit question. I feel, as people living with diabetes, we don’t pay much attention to that issue 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.
Digging out my car last year, I thought “wow this is exhausting.” I didn’t know how to adjust because how much was it going to impact my blood sugars. Since slightly low blood glucose, 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 spiked 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 an acceptable 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/. Then 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 action you already know how to adjust for and do the math.
If you drink an 8 oz glass of OJ for an hour of Walking briskly, burning 483 calories per hour, as seen at myplate. Since shoveling heavy, over 15 lb. per min, burns 731 cal’s per hour according to myplate, you could then divided 731 by 483. You would get roughly 1.5 times that by the 8 oz’s and you would need to drink a 12 oz glass of OJ before shoveling an hour in a blizzard. This method will give you an informed guess, but please keep in mind this is a guess, and it is not a perfect system.
So, be careful this winter and always have some candy and a blood glucose monitor handy. You never know, you might just need it.
Do not make changes to your diabetes management without consulting your doctor or CDE first. Please Do not consider this suggestion as medical advice.
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.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.