How to Help Your Child with Diabetes Stay Active

When your child struggles with diabetes, there are many things that may worry and concern you about his condition and whether he will be able to lead a normal life.

Children like to experience sharing with other kids their age, being part of a team and participating in sports. If this is something your child is interested in, diabetes should not be an obstacle for him.

As with adults, exercise is highly recommended as an additional method to regulate diabetes in children.

How Exercise Can Help

Exercise can be beneficial for your child in many ways. For example, exercise strengthens bones and muscles and can also reduce risk of heart disease. Exercise can also make insulin work better in the body, which helps your child keep blood sugar levels in a healthier range.

Weight management is an important part of diabetes care, and exercise can help your child to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Although a healthy diet is essential to weight management, it is not enough. It is recommended that you incorporate exercise into your child's routine as well. In people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, having too much body fat can keep insulin from regulating blood sugar levels.

Additionally, exercise can have many other wonderful benefits in your child's life. With exercise, kids can develop greater physical abilities such as better coordination, balance, strength and endurance. Furthermore, joining a sports team encourages your child to make friends and meet new people. Becoming skilled in a sport can also bring about a boost in self-esteem and confidence for your child.

Preparing for Exercise

Before you choose to start your child on a new exercise regimen, it is recommended that you talk to a doctor. Discuss whether you should make any changes to your child's testing schedule or medication or if there are other things you should be aware of before your child takes up a sport.

Remember that your child may also need your emotional support if he is starting out in a new sport. However, it is also important to keep in mind that if you are fearful and keep your child from participating, you could be reinforcing your child's sense of being different, sick or fragile. Always keep a positive attitude when embarking on a new activity with your child.

During Exercise

While exercising, your child could experience low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia, or high blood sugar, called hyperglycemia. Hypoglycemia can happen during or after exercise. This occurs because the body has used up much of its stored sugar.

Some of the signs of low blood sugar include sweating, dizziness, shakiness, weakness, anxiety, hunger, headaches, problems concentrating and confusion. In more severe cases, low blood sugar can cause fainting or seizures as well. Kids with diabetes may need to check blood sugar levels and have an extra snack to prevent low blood sugar levels.

Hyperglycemia can occur during exercise as well. This happens because during exercise the muscles need more energy and the body responds by releasing extra glucose into the blood stream. If there is not enough insulin, the sugar will remain in the blood, causing a person to urinate more, which can lead to dehydration.

It is especially important to watch out for this during exercise, as your child could become dehydrated more quickly due to the additional loss of water from sweating and breathing hard during exercise. Other signs of high blood sugar include excessive thirst, fatigue, weakness and blurry vision.

Tips for Starting Physical Activity

Here are some general tips to keep in mind when starting up a new exercise routine:

  1. Adjust blood testing schedules
  2. Take insulin on schedule
  3. Eat right and try to maintain a meal plan
  4. Have snacks and water readily available
  5. Remember to pack testing supplies, medications and anything else your child might need in case of an emergency
  6. Inform coaches, camp leaders and teachers about your child's condition

Any kind of exercise is great. You can start with simple activities like walking the dog and eventually move to something more physical like joining a team sport. Health experts recommend that you set a goal for your child to exercise 60 minutes a day for five to six days a week. Try to keep in mind that new exercise habits might be hard for kids to adopt at first, but experiencing the benefits of exercise can help kids stick to their program.

Source: KidsHealth.org

More Articles

Diabetic shoes are important as a common side effect of diabetes is "peripheral neuropathy," which causes loss of sensation in the extremities....

There’s something inherently playful about bouncing, which is why so many people enjoy rebounding. Rebounding, or exercising on a mini-trampoline...

Do not let pictures of yoga experts with their bodies twisted into bizarre, compact shapes fool you. Even people with stiff muscles, creaky joints...

One of the hardest parts about adopting a low-carb diet is giving up traditional baked goods and sweets. The good news, however, is that low-carb...

Insulin injections are a way of life for many people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but for some people, they can be a little intimidating at...

More Articles

One of the hardest parts about adopting a low-carb diet is giving up traditional baked goods and sweets. The good news, however, is that low-carb...

Anyone can develop a fungal skin infection, but people with diabetes are more prone to them. A common cause of fungal infections in those with...

Many diabetics struggle to control the sudden blood sugar spikes that can occur after meals. Knowing why blood sugar spikes happen and making...

Do not let pictures of yoga experts with their bodies twisted into bizarre, compact shapes fool you. Even people with stiff muscles, creaky joints...

People often get diabetes and hypoglycemia confused with one another, believing that they are two different names for the same condition. In...

Diabetes is a health condition that disrupts the body’s normal production of insulin. Currently, more than one million Americans are diagnosed...

Insulin injections are a way of life for many people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but for some people, they can be a little intimidating at...

With diabetes, it all used to be really simple: Type 1 diabetes was known as “childhood-onset,” and type 2 was “adult-onset” diabetes. The cause...

There’s something inherently playful about bouncing, which is why so many people enjoy rebounding. Rebounding, or exercising on a mini-trampoline...

Everyone from grandmothers to physicians tout oatmeal's wholesome goodness and health benefits. But, is oatmeal good for diabetics? Limited...

A common complication associated with diabetes is swollen feet. The swelling can...

Stomach aches and other gastrointestinal pains can be signs of a bigger problem. One such problem for diabetics is gastroparesis, or delayed...

Improving your A1C reading requires you to maintain consistently healthy blood...

The medical community relies heavily on the goodwill of its citizens, as giving blood and organ donations help save thousands of lives every year...

There are several misconceptions about Diabetes. Learn more about the top misconceptions vs. facts surrounding Type 2 Diabetes below.

86...