Millions of people around the world follow exercise programmes in the belief that it is good for their health. They jog, walk, go to the gym, swim, cycle, play squash or golf to “keep fit”. I don’t want to-knock the benefits of exercise, it is undoubtedly good for us in moderation. But when you suffer from hypoglycemia, exercise is a mixed blessing.
Many people with hypoglycemia begin to exercise more, in the belief that their tiredness is caused by “getting unfit”. Sadly, the exercise can push them over the edge into a state of collapse. At that point there is only one thing you can do – rest.
In my late teens and early 20s I was a competitive runner. I was proud of my fitness and my ability to push myself to a state of exhaustion on long runs. It’s a great feeling to be fit. But if you ignore your body’s cries for rest, something has to give eventually. Exercise enthusiasts tend to be highly-motivated individuals who push themselves hard in both work and play. That is good – up to a certain point. But life is a question of balance.
Work must be balanced with rest and sleep. It’s common sense. So, in the early stages of your recovery from hypoglycemia you must be careful not to over-exercise, nor over-exert yourself physically in any other way. The normal tasks of daily living will provide enough exercise. Gradually, you can build up to walking but never push yourself too hard. Forget the old adage of “no gain without pain”. Instead think: “no pain means maximum gain”.
When it starts to hurt or you feel exhausted, back off. You’re not training for the Olympics. You simply want good health. And when you do push yourself too hard, as you inevitably will, don’t feel guilty about resting. Forget about exercise until you’ve fully recovered from your over-exertion.
Everyone’s capacity is different. There are no hard and fast rules, you have to work it out for yourself. Life is a balance of exercise, rest and sleep. When we get any of those three out of balance, our health suffers.