If you have decided to start exercising and you have chosen to cycle, in this article I tell you how to do cycling with diabetes in safely.
The bike, in addition to being a low-cost and comfortable way of transport, is one of the best alternatives today for exercising with diabetes. If you have been encouraged to pick up the one you had in the garage and you’ ve taken the first step to use it, it is important for you to know how to do cycling with diabetes in a safe way.
Can cycling be adapted to any level?
Cycling, thanks to its versatility, allows you to, depending on what you feel like and how fit you are, adapt the physical activity to your preference. In this way, you can go for a ride every afternoon for an hour or train at high intensity levels and neither should be a problem for your blood glucose levels if you take the necessary precautions.
The proof of this is the Team Novo Nordisk, a cyclist team that is composed only of people with type 1 diabetes proving that this disease is not an impediment when it comes to become a high-performance athlete, despite the physical effort that this requires.
Brais Dacal, an elite cyclist with type 1 diabetes, commented in an interview that, for him, his diabetes is not a condition that affects his physical performance as long as it is under control. Not even when training an average of 4 to 6 hours a day, which is the number of hours a professional cyclist trains and that, at the end of the year, represents about 30,000 kilometers.
On a less demanding level, as a hobby or light training, cycling will help you with articular and back problems and also with cholesterol levels and strengthening of the muscles. All of this without damaging the joints, which are a weak point for people with diabetes, because they tend to suffer premature erosion of the joints. As far as diabetes is concerned, assistants such as Cori will help you during your workouts to keep your blood glucose levels under control and to know how your body reacts.
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Tips for cycling with diabetes
However, in order to be able to do this activity safely without suffering excessive alterations in blood glucose levels, there are several points to keep in mind:
It’s all about test and fail
Just as in other physical activities, cycling with diabetes is a trial-and-error exercise. You have to see how your blood sugar levels react to your training until you find your ideal formula. This is why it is important to test yourself before, during and after exercise and to analyze the readings you get.
Be careful with low blood sugar
As this is a sport that is mostly done by yourself and on isolated trails, it is advisable to be especially careful with low blood sugar, because they could represent a serious risk to your health.
Don’t forget hydration
Both water and isotonic drink are essential if you are cycling with diabetes, so it will be important to carry both of them with you.
Even if diabetes is the biggest concern, don’t forget to wear a helmet, it can save you from many injuries in the case of falling.
When you have questions, consult your doctor
Your endocrinologist is the person who knows the most about your type of diabetes. Before starting, check with him or her about any changes in your medications and ask if you need any further advice.
How can I include cycling in my daily life?
If you want to start cycling but don’t know how to do it, here are 3 recommendations that will surely be useful.
- Go everywhere on your bike: It seems a bit silly, but it’s the quickest and easiest way to begin to familiarize yourself with the activity. Leaving the car to one side and starting to use the bike will make you gain confidence and speed with it at the same time that you will start to get active.
- Get the people around you involved: Riding with your friends or family is always a good way for you to train with fun and company.
- Get an stationary bike: If you live in a place where the weather is bad or you want to take advantage of the time you spend watching TV, get an exercise bike is for you. This will allow you to train from home without worrying about the cold or the rain.