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With long term medical problems, exercise provides positive and negative aspects. For those with diabetes symptoms or with all types of diabetes, if you are considering starting an exercise programme, the first stop should be the doctor's office.

This is essential as certain medical conditions, like diabetes, could become worse as a result of the exercise. Your doctor will review your medical history and test you to check the condition of your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nervous system.

After your medical check-up, it is advisable to talk to your doctor about what activities are suitable for you. This is especially important if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are over 35

  • You have had diabetes for more than ten years

  • You have had any complications of diabetes

  • You have heart disease or are at high risk for it

  • You have proliferative diabetic retinopathy

  • You haven't exercised in a long time.

Typically, doctors will recommend aerobic exercise, which makes you breathe more deeply and forces your heart to work harder. You can choose the activities that you'll enjoy the most, for example walking, running, cycling, or aerobic classes. For those who have foot problems, exercises that won't put stress on your feet, such as swimming or rowing, are recommended.

If you are unsure where to start, you can talk to a personal trainer. Be sure they are suitably trained and qualified, and are aware of the possibility of hypoglycaemia or hyperglycaemia. The good news is that overall, only 15% - 20% of sufferers rely on daily injections of insulin, while over 75% control the problem with diet, tablets, and exercise.




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