Exercise and blood sugar is an important topic for anyone with diabetes. Along with nutrition, exercise is one of the best natural remedies for blood sugar control. Before embarking on any exercise, speak with your doctor. Together you can decide which type of activity is ideal for you and how to manage medication, exercise and blood sugar.
How Exercise And Blood Sugar Work Together
In order to understand the relationship between exercise and blood sugar, keep in mind two points. Exercise:
- lowers blood sugar by:
- using sugar for energy. When you exercise, blood sugar is used by the muscle. Exercise can lower your blood sugar for up to 24 hours. Check blood sugar before, during and after long intense bouts of exercise.
- improving how insulin works. Insulin will work better (improved insulin sensitivity) to deliver the sugar from the blood to the muscle. Therefore, sugar is more efficiently used as energy for the muscle while lowering the amount of sugar in the blood.
Participating in consistent exercise 30-90 minutes after meals is one way to use activity as a tool to maintain blood sugar control.
2. raises blood sugar when:
- insulin levels are low. When insulin is low hormones trigger the liver to produce glucose (sugar) that is then released into the blood.
- physical activity is vigorous. The liver makes more sugar with higher intensity exercise. A rise in blood sugar from high-intensity exercise (HIT) may last for several hours. However, with time the body adapts and HIT will not cause the same blood sugar spike as it initially did.
- blood sugar is already high at the onset of exercise. Consider this rule of thumb before exercise: When your blood sugar is too high before starting exercise then don’t do it. Do NOT exercise if you test positive for ketones and your blood sugar is over 250 mg/dl.
Please read these exercise and tips if you are living with Type 1 diabetes and want to better understand how to adjust insulin for exercise.
Types of Exercise
Get up and move. While it is nice to lounge around the house on the weekend or bang out as much work as possible during the week, it is just as important to move your body. Exercise is a healthy lifestyle priority.
What types of exercise benefit blood sugar? Any type of activity helps improve blood sugar. In general, exercise helps lower stress, improve moods, health, sleep and much more.
Different types of activities provide different benefits for blood sugar. What is important about exercise is that you should get involved in an activity you enjoy. If you like the activity you do, you will do it consistently.
Exercise and Blood Sugar Wrap up
Use exercise as a way to feel good, manage blood sugar, improve sleep and moods. Exercise can raise or lower blood sugar. Check blood sugar before exercise. If you are going to exercise at a high intensity, check blood sugar before, during and after the activity.
Conventional exercise is not necessary, any activity will do, just make sure you enjoy it. Consistently. engaging in exercise and controlling carbohydrates will help maintain blood sugar within normal limits.