Sunday, June 19, 2005

Exercise -- the New Miracle Cure?

I started my exercise program 11 days ago. Has it already been that long? Results have been immediate and dramatic. My weight is down 8 pounds--mostly water, I'm sure, it gets harder from here. The most dramatic effect, though, has been on my blood sugar levels. I am steadily reducing my insulin doses, and it looks very much like I will be able to drop it entirely in the next couple of weeks. That's really good news!

My blood sugar is more tightly controlled than it has ever been in the four years since I was diagnosed. Random testing gives results around 100-120 mg/dl. 100 is baseline normal. Even my fasting blood sugars are down to 130-170. I seem to have an intense Somogyi effect, or early morning rebound, that causes my morning blood sugar level to go pretty high.

For insulin-resistant Type II diabetics, exercise has 4 basic benefits aside from the normal cardio-vascular benefits that everybody gets. First is an immediate drop in blood sugar as muscles burn more glucose as they work. Second is a decrease in insulin resistance, letting cells use the glucose that's available in the blood. Third is weight loss, which also helps decrease insulin resistance. Fourth is building muscle mass. Muscles use glucose even when they are at rest, helping keep blood glucose levels steady.

With these implications in mind, my goals are two-fold: lose weight and increase and tone muscle. To support these goals, my workout has two components. I do 2 circuits on the weight machines--12 reps each, I'm still working to determine my ideal weight on each machine. I follow that with some ab and oblique work on the exercise ball to reduce intra-abdominal fat, which is a heart attack just waiting its chance. Finally, I finish with 30 minutes on the stationary bike. My gimpy knee eliminates the treadmill and Stair Master. I'm working on getting my heart rate up to around 100 for 20 minutes or more at a time.

The bid down side to all this is that this intensive workout can, and does, push my blood sugar level dangerously low very fast. So fast, in fact, that the symptoms of hypoglycemia don't have time to manifest. It has gone as low as 50, which is way too close to insulin shock for my comfort. My defense is awareness and a ready supply of glucose tablets or simple carbs like crackers. Eternal vigilance is the price of safety.

By keeping these things in mind (and the $25 a month I'm signed up for!), I can motivate myself to go to the gym frequently and stick to my routine. My current plan is to go on Saturday and Sunday mornings and Tuesday and Wednesday after work. So far, so good.


At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck!!!!!

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Carter said...

Thanks, SQ! It's going well so far.


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