Often during exercise I’m not sure if the symptoms I’m feeling are from the workout or from a hypo. Having a hypo during or after a workout can be really demoralising. Imagine you’ve just slogged your guts out, but you now have to eat the amount calories than you’ve just burned (probably more) to treat a hypo. It feels like a wasted workout. But is it really?
Armed with mum’s early birthday gift (90 day gym pass), a new exercise program and renewed motivation, I’ve been hitting the gym with a vengeance. Exercising with pumpagotchi has been a new and interesting experience I’m still trying to adjust to. Apart from tweaking with my basal or background insulin settings on pumpagotchi, I try and keep a close eye on my sugar levels by testing before, during and after my workout. Occasionally, I still find myself defeated by a hypo during my workout.
I spent some time thinking about wasted exercise the other day as I was treating a post workout hypo. Sure, if you’re exercising with a goal of weight loss, eating those calories you’ve just burned seems counter intuitive. But I’ve given up on the idea of weight loss. Like the A1c, weight is just a number that is meaningless on its own. According to my BMI, I’m in the healthy weight range. So what? I know that I’m eating well, I feel healthy, more importantly, I look and feel pretty good about myself.
So why am I exercising, if it’s not to lose weight? Because it helps me unwind and steals my thoughts away from work, studies and writing, allowing me to get back into work with a fresh mind later on. I enjoy the physical challenge and feeling super accomplished having finished my workout. Some days, I use exercise to justify the copious amounts of food that I love to eat. I am human after all! Other days, I tell myself that I’m training to survive a zombie apocalypse. After all, I just need to outrun the last person right? And we haven’t even started discussing other benefits of exercise on the body that has been extensively researched upon such as cardiovascular benefits and bone health.
Everyone has their reasons for exercising. People with diabetes probably have more of a reason to do so as exercise helps with insulin sensitivity among other things. There’s no denying that hypos are disruptive. They are the unwanted diabetes guest that shows up at the most inconvenient times. But try not to let it dictate how you feel, by focusing on how bad and annoying they are. Exercise reaps way more benefits than just weight loss, and it’s good to be reminded that any exercise is never a waste of time even if it’s thwarted by diabetes.