running with diabetes

Running with diabetes

We love hearing amazing stories from our community and this week has been no different. Running with diabetes can be a tricky business, but also extremely beneficial. Meal planning, nutritional intake, medication and training all need to be taken into account to maintain a stable blood sugar level before, during and after exercise. But, if you have diabetes (particularly if you are carrying some excess weight), then being active and exercising is one of the best things you can do.

Diabetes UK figures are on the rise: One in ten over 40s now has Type 2 diabetes, and the total number of people living with all types of diabetes has reached 4.7 million in the UK. That number is expected to increase to reach 5.5 million by 2030.

Diabetes in UK
Diabetes UK

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. So running is well worth the effort. The benefits of running are well documented but include improved cardiovascular performance, weight loss, and more. Check out the inspirational running story below.

Peter Weymouth’s story: Running with type 2 diabetes

Pete Weymouth, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, shares his running story with us:

“I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic in April 2018. At the time, I was around the 20 stone mark and I was not doing any exercise so I had to make big changes to my lifestyle. I told the nurse that I would reverse it and she said that they all say that; that made me determined to reverse it”.

“I started running, purely with weight loss being the intention and my first recorded 5k time was 43 mins. I was determined to get a sub 30 time, so I gradually chipped away at the time over the next 5 months. The running, combined with an improved diet, led to me losing 5 stone of weight and getting my 5k time down to 26:25”.

“It was around this time I found out my diabetes has gone into remission, in September 2018. This gave me the motivation to carry on and I entered the Bath Half Marathon, setting myself a target of 2:30… I somehow managed to achieve a time of 2:11”.

“I’m motivated to keep running as it helps keeps my diabetes in remission and it’s good for my mental health also. I am again running the Bath Half in 2020, aiming for sub 2hr time, and I’m hopeful of also completing the London Marathon 2020 – I’m just awaiting a charity place for Diabetes UK”.

Running with diabetes top tips

Running is a great form of exercise for anyone with diabetes as it helps improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin – particularly useful to help combat insulin resistance. Here are top tips to run safely with type 2 diabetes:

  1. Always carry medical identification on runs.
  2. Before starting a rigorous running plan, it’s advisable to let your doctor know you are going to start running. You’ll get some helpful advice on being more active and how you can fuel properly to prevent high or low blood sugar.
  3. Be careful when taking on energy gels and fizzy sports drinks – overdoing it can result in your blood glucose negatively effecting the impact of your run.
  4. Keep in mind the benefits of exercise on insulin sensitivity lasts for between 24 and 72 hours (depending on the intensity and length of the workout). An evening run after a meal could be a way to keep your blood sugar from spiking.
  5. Don’t go too hard too soon. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t push too hard or expect the weight to fall off overnight. Set realistic weight goals that won’t cause your body to be unstable.
Chris Smith
Founder of Vivi Nation, sports enthusiast, occasional triathlete, keen cyclist and optimistic Liverpool FC fan.

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