Today’s fitness and health professionals work with more people living with diabetes (especially type 2 diabetes) than ever before. This presents a major challenge, particularly within the personal training industry which is growing rapidly, and is normally the first line of contact for many people with diabetes looking to improve their health.
It’s imperative to know what diabetes is and the fundamentals of diet, exercise, lifestyle, and medication management. Here are five important points a healthcare or fitness professional should understand before engaging with T1D individuals involved in sport or fitness.
- High-intensity exercise like weight training can increase blood glucose levels, even without the consumption of carbohydrates. This is a result of counter-regulatory stress hormones that increase in circulation as a result of high-intensity exercise. It is imperative that such increases in blood glucose are anticipated and dealt with.
- Low-intensity exercise like cardio has the potential to lower blood glucose and cause hypoglycemia.
- The psychological aspect of managing diabetes is undervalued and not talked about enough. If T1D athletes and fitness enthusiasts were to place a higher value on their diabetes management, they would excel in their fitness or sporting efforts. Poorly managed diabetes will have a highly detrimental effect on muscle building, fat loss, and sporting performance.
- Whey protein and supplements like caffeine have the potential to increase blood glucose levels and may require insulin.
- People with diabetes are more susceptible to podiatry problems, which can have implications for exercise program design.