managing diabetes when runningWhile the jury is still out about whether running or walking is better for people with Type II diabetes, one thing we know for sure is that both are great for managing your condition. Runners have a slight edge over walkers for weight loss. So if weight loss is your goal and you have the go ahead from your doctor, running can be a great way to slim down and control your diabetes at the same time.

If you have Type II diabetes, running can make your body more sensitive to insulin. That's a really good thing, since those with Type II diabetes are insulin resistant (unable to make enough insulin or use it properly). When your body is more sensitive to insulin it can get into your cells. There it can break down the glucose and stay out of your blood where it can do damage to your body, including your feet.

Running and proper diet can help avoid the need for insulin and if you're already on it, it can decrease your need for it in the future.

Here are 7 tips for running safely with Type II diabetes:

  1. Check your blood sugar levels before and after you run to determine how your body is reacting to this new level of exercise.
  2. Work with your doctor to determine how to manage your medications and a certified diabetic educator to manage your diet.
  3. Take it slowly - this is true for any person new to running, but its particular true for a runner with Type II diabetes. Check with your doctor first, but a good starting point is 20 minutes to start, three times a week. However, your doctor may want you to do even less. Keep in mind that you'll need to keep your blood sugars steady so you don't become hypoglycemic.
  4. Wear proper shoes and socks - running puts more pressure on your feet than walking. Diabetes can affect the feet by causing decreased sensation. When you can't feel pain you're more likely to form blisters, calluses, and ignor trauma. All of these can lead to ulcer formation. That's why it's essential that you're shoes and socks are up to snuff. You can get this information on our site: "How to Buy the Best Running Shoes" and "Best Socks for Runners and Hikers."  
  5. Inspect your feet daily - all people with diabetes should be treating their feet with the utmost care, but if you run this is even more important because of the added pounding to your feet. Look for areas that are red or cracked, open sores, or drainage in your socks. Use a mirror to check the bottom of your feet. Check your shoes for small pebbles.
  6. Moisturize your feet daily - as a person with diabetes you know you have dry feet. All people with diabetes need to moisturize their feet. This is even more important for those who run to prevent the skin from breaking down. A brand that we use in our office that works really well is Amerigel lotion. Or ask your local pharmacist to recommend a cream specifically for diabetic feet.
  7. See a podiatrist - if you have flat feet, bunions, or hammertoes you should see a podiatrist before you start running. Your podiatrist can evaluate your feet and prescribe the proper padding, inserts, or custom orthotics to help you avoid foot abrasions and ulcer formation due to your faulty foot structure.   

We'd be happy to help you start your running off right!

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment, often same day. You can also request an appointment online.

Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.
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