My Diabetes Project – Exercise
Diabetes information and services in Europe
During exercise, our muscles use sugar for energy, and it helps our bodies use insulin more efficiently. So working out helps lower our blood glucose levels.
Before you start exercise:
Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan.
A general rule is try and exceed 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. If a while since you last worked out, check with your doctor to create a plan that fits your own needs
S/he will know the right balance of aerobic and muscle strengthening activities for you.
Keep an exercise schedule. Get advice from your doctor on what time of day is best for you to exercise, so you can coordinate with times of your meals and medication.
Know your numbers:
Ask your doctor where your blood sugar levels should be before starting your exercises.
Check your blood sugar level before, during, and after exercise.
This is really important if you take insulin or medications that are supposed to lower your blood sugar levels. Sometimes, exercise can lower blood sugar levels even a day after working out, especially if you’re new to an activity or increasing the intensity of your workout.
You should also know that some of the warning signs of low blood sugar include:
- feeling shaky
- weak, tired
- anxious, or confused.
If you use insulin and your blood sugar is below 100 miligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or 5.6 millimoles per liter (mmol/L), have a quick snack before starting to exercise to prevent your blood sugar from getting too low.Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water or fluids because becoming dehydrated (your body loses more water than it takes in) can impact your blood sugar levels.
Be prepared. Always have a snack or glucose tablet with you in case your blood sugar drops too low. It also helps to wear a medical identification bracelet when exercising.
Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. If you take insulin, talk to your doctor about changing your doses before and after working out if needed. Ask your doctor about changes you may need to make if you increase your exercise routine.