Running towards better health
Participating in moderate-intensity activity, like running, can reduce the risk of hypoglycemia and even make your body more sensitive to insulin. Many people living with diabetes are afraid to take up running because they don’t understand what effect it will have on their bodies; however, diabetes, both type 1 and 2, should not be a limiter for someone pursuing greater and more intense activity. There are a myriad of examples of people with diabetes accomplishing amazing physical feats, including competing in Ironman competitions. We are not encouraging everyone to apply for such contests, but to see it as evidence that if you know how to prepare for a run and how to react – you’ll be safe in pursuing your fitness goals.
Let people know
Yes, we don’t like it when people let the world know about their workouts, but this is a different case. Actually, you should tell somebody that you are planning to go out for a run, when you are planning to come back, and in which area you are running. It would be even better to find a running buddy – for both safety and fun. Another suggestion is not to run in very remote places, especially if you are not sure how your blood glucose is affected by running, or if you are planning a longer run than usual.
Preparation is the key
Being prepared is the basis for every intensive activity for people living with diabetes. You can regulate your intensity and pick your own pace depending on your goals, weather, activity level and other factors.
- Whether you are planning short or long runs, it’s always best to consult your healthcare professional before taking up running and after some time of practice to adjust your therapy.
- You should be aware that you don’t need to run at a fast pace from the very beginning. Choose your own comfortable pace and don’t try to push yourself harder. Running is a long practice and you’ll see some improvements soon and be surprised by the new abilities of your own body.
- Never forget about hydration!
- Comfortable running shoes are extremely important as running is a high-intensity activity that creates significant pressure on your lower body and spine. It’s always better to run on terrain than on pavement as it reduces the chance of joint injuries. Remember that you should regularly check the inside of your shoes to make sure there are no any small objects inside that might hurt your feet. Also, consider checking your feet regularly to make sure you don't have any skin injuries.
- Check the weather, try not to run when it’s very hot outside. And again – focus more on hydration when it is.
- Looking for a runners community in your area can also be a very good idea!
Take test runs
You should listen to your body during your first runs. It’s best to start with small distances and an easy pace, then you should be able to feel if you can increase the intensity and distance. To understand best how your body reacts to running, check your blood sugar before you first start and 10 minutes after. However, you should know that your body may react in a different way each time, you aren’t learning a concrete rule, but are getting a good understanding.
If you decide to take up running you should think about your health before anything else. All the goals and results are secondary. Great results are not seen overnight, it takes time, patience and effort, just like growing domestic plants. If done correctly running can help you not only lose weight and get fit but also improve your mental health.
All the suggestions in this article are presented for general information and should not be perceived as a medical advice. You should always consult your healthcare professional when making any changes in your activity, medication, or diet.
This project is co-financed via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)