How much exercise should I be getting?
The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends:
1. 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of aerobic activity per week.
- This could mean 30 minutes, five times per week.
- Try to exercise for at least 20 minutes at a time if possible.
- Aerobic activities include: walking, jogging, swimming, biking, dancing.
- Remember to not take more than two days off in a row.
2. Resistance training 2-3 times per week.
- Resistance activity could include: weight training, band exercises, body weight exercises.
- Check out diabetes.ca for further resources on resistance training.
3. Be sure to include flexibility activities with all your exercise. Flexibility training helps to maintain flexibility as you age, and prevents against injury during or after activity.
Should I eat before exercise? How much?
Eating for exercise is an individual decision that depends on your goals. For instance, if you are looking to lose weight, you may not necessarily want to eat beforehand.
That said, the best way to maintain good glycemic control during exercise is to test before, during and after your activity. This will help you to determine whether a snack is needed to prevent hypo/hyperglycemia. If you are going to exercise first thing in the morning, you should have something to eat beforehand. If you exercise between meals, and your meals are going to be greater than six hours apart, a snack is recommended.
A good pre-workout snack would contain about 15 g carbohydrate and 7 g protein (e.g., one piece of whole wheat toast with two tablespoons of natural peanut butter). Sometimes, even if not needed, having a snack may provide a boost to enhance your performance during exercise. For prolonged exercise sessions, it may be necessary to eat 15 grams of carbohydrate for every 30-60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise.