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Choosing a Workout for a Diabetic Teen with Type 2 Diabetes

Updated on March 16, 2010

Diabetes is a disease that affects many, many people. Teenagers are common to type 2 diabetes which can be controlled with a proper diet and exercise routine. There have been many studies that have proven that by proper nutrition and exercise, you can actually reduce your dosage of insulin, as the body is naturally accommodating glucose levels in the blood.

But, you want to be very careful about your exercises because you want to carefully monitor your blood sugar levels so that they don't go too low. The best way to monitor your exercise routine is to make sure that you know how long to exercise, how often, and what type of exercises best control blood sugar levels.

Exercising to Control Diabetes

Because diabetes is a serious disease, you want to make sure that you monitor your glucose levels while exercising. If you plan on exercising for over an hour, you'll want to make sure that you check your glucose at regular intervals; otherwise, make sure that you check your blood sugar before you start.

It is recommended that you exercise at least three times a week to better monitor your diabetes, but if you want full results and the most effective control, it's ideal to exercise daily. You don't have to set aside hours of time every day to exercise. All you need to do is set aside at least 30 to 45 minutes a day.

As for what exercises you should perform to control your blood sugar, you want to do a balanced routine of aerobic and weight training/ resistances exercises. You can choose one type or the other, but by including both in your routine, you are best controlling your glucose.

Aerobic exercises control your blood sugar immediately, whereas resistance exercises affect your blood sugar a few hours afterward.

It is recommended that you include the following exercises in your routine:

  • Treadmill (aerobic)
  • Stationary bike (aerobic)
  • Weight machines (resistance)
  • Dumbbells (resistance)

When just starting out, you want to build up your resistance naturally. Never push yourself to the max right off the bat. You want to work your way up to a full session. Many trainers will tell you that it's ideal to include about 30 to 45 minutes of both aerobic and resistance exercises; if you do a combination routine, you'll be at the gym for about an hour to an hour and a half. You don't have to do this every session, but it's ideal to make your routine most effective.

If you exercise regularly instead of once in a while, you'll see more improvement in your health, weight, and blood sugar. You will find that if you only include either aerobic or resistance exercises, you won't see as big of a difference in your blood sugar, but if you include both, you'll see the greatest change in your A1C readings.

By exercising to control your diabetes, you can actually decrease your risk of heart attack, stroke, blood pressure, weight, and other diabetes related illnesses such as eye and kidney disease.

Teen Exercise Routine

As a teen, keep in mind that the body is still growing. Your body needs plenty of rest as well as a balanced nutritional diet, but it also very important to get plenty of exercise.

Before setting up an exercise plan, teenagers and children with diabetes should have a physical to make sure that everything else is in good shape and condition. By having a physical, you can determine what parts of the body needs the most improvement, and what exercises you may have to limit because of health concerns.

For example, those with weak knees and ankles should start with light leg exercises until a full exercise routine can be developed. If you stress and force exercises, you can do more damage than good.

While exercising, you want to make sure that coaches and trainers are aware that you have diabetes. It's is ideal that whether you are working out with friends or professional trainers and coaches, they know how to react in case of an emergency. Have your insulin kit and testing kit with you. You want to monitor your glucose levels before, during, and after your workout routine.

It is a good idea that you have crackers, a soda, and some kind of snack available in case your blood sugar drops too low. You'll want to stop the activity, sit down, rest, eat a small snack, and drink fluids, until your blood sugar has risen.

Keep watch for shakiness, weakness, excessive sweating, lightheadedness, anxiety, hunger, a headache, confusion, or problems concentrating. These are common signs of low blood sugar.

On the other hand, if the body isn't getting enough insulin to use, high blood sugar can be a concern. Signs of high blood sugar include exhaustion, increased urination and thirst, vision changes, moodiness, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, and muscle cramps. If the blood sugar is too high, stop the activity until it has decreased.

Before new activities and exercises are adding to a fitness routine, it is a good idea to check with a pediatrician or specialist to ensure the safety.

If you are, know, or have a teenager who has type 2 diabetes, it is very important that the teen gets up and moving. Losing weight, eating a proper diet, and exercising is a great way to manage diabetes and blood sugar levels. Medication dosages and frequency can actually be reduced as your body is better able to maintain the blood sugar levels.

Teens with Diabetes

In control: A Guide for Teens with Diabetes Custom Edition for Eli Lilly
In control: A Guide for Teens with Diabetes Custom Edition for Eli Lilly

How to make the best choices about your health. Learn about food, sexuality, relationships, and medical advice.


Type 2 Diabetes

The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed
The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed

How to adjust your lifestyle after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.


Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed physician. If you have any questions, please consult a doctor or nutritionist so that you can discuss exercise and nutrition and how to manage your diabetes.


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    • earnestshub profile image


      8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Another very useful and well written hub Whitney05.

      My mother was diabetic type 1 and I have seen what happens when blood sugar gets too far out of whack.

      Information is often the key to good management of any disease and this hub provides lots of good information.

      Thumbs up.

    • olaoyemi profile image


      9 years ago

      I have been suffering from diabetes right from birth.I have taken many drugs,but to no avail.The information you have given me here opens my eyes to many things.Thanks a lot.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      It is so important to do everything to keep diabetes effects at bay. good hub.


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