AS ANOTHER two-week lockdown looms over the capital, Dr. Reynaldo D. Rosales, an endocrinologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center, recommended exercise alternatives for Manila’s residents such as car washing, floor sweeping, gardening, and window washing. 

For those less inclined to do chores, there’s always dancing, rope jumping, stair walking, and stationary biking. You don’t even need a partner to dance, Dr. Rosales added in a recent webinar about diabetes management. “Just follow the steps on YouTube videos,” he said in the vernacular.  

Physical activities, done in moderate intensity, at least 150 minutes a week is ideal, said Leyden Florendo, president of the Philippine Association of Diabetes Educators, in a separate webinar organized by Merck Sharp & Dohme in the Philippines.   

“Scatter those 150 minutes over the week,” she said, adding that people with diabetes should exercise every day, if possible. “It doesn’t need to be vigorous. Start slow until such time you develop the habit… Don’t use the pandemic as an excuse,” she said in the vernacular.  

By working out and eating right, people who are predisposed to diabetes have a fighting chance of not getting it, said Dr. Aurora “Aouie” G. Macaballug, board member of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (PSEDM), at the same event.  

“Be proactive rather than complacent,” she said, recommending the seated workouts featured on PSEDM’s YouTube channel.  

While restrictions are in place, patients with diabetes are also advised to consult their doctors through telemedicine and text messaging, to maintain a month’s supply of medications, and to monitor their blood sugar at home.  

Regular blood sugar monitoring enables individuals to see what factors trigger the increase or decrease of blood sugar — information that will help doctors plan their diabetes care.  

The typical times to check one’s blood sugar, per the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is when you first wake up and before you consume anything; before a meal; two hours after a meal; and at bedtime.  

A typical blood sugar target, or the range to aim for, is 80–130 mg/dL before a meal, and less than 180 mg/dL two hours after the start of a meal. Blood sugar targets, however, may differ depending on factors such as age and other additional health problems.  — Patricia B. Mirasol