Physical activity is essential to leading a healthy life. Over the last few years of my life lack of exercise became routine. Heck, it wasn't that great before then. My body was screaming out for help! Proper diet and exercise are keys to healing your body and reversing reactive hypoglycemia. Exercise has a vast range of healing influences on the body and here's what I've learned about the importance of exercise for someone with Reactive Hypoglycemia:
(1) Taking a daily walk or following a simple exercise routine may help you feel better, (2) Exercise helps the body build strength and fight off illness, (3) Exercise helps the body to move and release toxins and flush out bacteria, (4) Exercise strengthens the organs and glands so that they function better, and (5) Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones. Simply put, exercise gets everything moving and functioning.
When you suffer from Reactive Hypoglycemia, what I am learning is that proper planning before exercise will determine how you feel afterwards. Will you crash and burn or will you maintain an excitement and energy that your body craves? Here's a guide to help you plan properly:
You must ensure your body has the nutrition and energy stored to replace energy depleted through exercise because physical activity increases your body's use of sugar. If not, you'll crash and burn. Eat a light snack and/or protein shake about 30 minutes before your workout. Here's a good protein shake for those of you that can handle peanut butter and grains like oatmeal. I'd opt for PB2. If you are in the beginning stages of reactive hypoglycemia treatment, shakes may need to be eliminated.
To keep your energy storage going, have a meal, light snack, or protein shake after your workout. If you're exercising long and hard you may need a snack like nuts or seeds during your workout to prevent low blood sugar as your energy stores are depleted.
Pick a good time.
For light exercise like walking, yoga, or light jogging, exercise in the morning after having breakfast and/or a protein shake because your liver's glycogen stores are relatively empty after waking up in the morning. For more intense workouts or weight training, late afternoon or evening workouts are best because your body's ability to use dietary proteins peak later in the day after a few meals and snacks. Regardless of the day or time you choose, sticking to a schedule will help exercise become routine.
Monitor your body.
Pay close attention to how your body responds. Be careful not to over-do it. You may need to slow it down, eat a different type of snack prior, or stick to weight training without too much cardio. If you're just starting an exercise routine, walking may be a good first activity.
Drink plenty of H2O.
Water is a life source. Drink water before, during, and after your workout to prevent dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration can mimic those of hypoglycemia. Just as our brain thrives on energy (sugar/glucose/glycogen) and uses the highest percent of our energy stores, the brain also thrives on water and is composed of 73% water.
Always be prepared to correct a drop in blood sugar. You may experience low blood sugar as you get into the routine of things and learn what to do and what not to do before and during your workout. Your body is your guide. Keep water and a few snacks handy. Good snacks include nuts or seeds. Avoid nuts that are coated with sugar, yogurt or chocolate. Stick to plain, raw nuts and seeds. Also, don't forget any oral medications you may be taking.
Avoid alcohol and smoking.
Do I need to explain this? Just don't do it.
Get into a routine.
Take your cardio slowly and don't forget your nutrition. Selecting a specific day or days of the week, a specific time of day, and a specific length of time for your workout will help you make your exercise regimen a habit and you are more likely to stick to it.
Find an activity you enjoy! Exercise doesn't have to be in the gym. It can be cycling or swimming, which are both great for working out your whole body.
Start with reasonable goals. People with Reactive Hypoglycemia can't jump into the exercise pool head first. Take it slowly and build into a more progressive workout. After not working out for a while, I started with walking for a few weeks and lifting light weights at home.
A tiny disclaimer.
The content of this blog post is my personal expressed opinions and should not be used as medical advice or to replace the advice provided by your doctor. Consider the content carefully and use your best judgement.