Why Exercise is Good for Diabetes

By Marci Sloane|2018-07-03T11:31:01-04:00Updated: July 9th, 2014|Diabetes Management, DIY Diabetes Articles|0 Comments

Exercise is good for diabetes because it can help you stay healthy, control blood sugar, maintain a healthy weight, and to increase energy levels. Always consult your doctor before starting an exercise regimen. Here are some tips and guidelines that people with diabetes should follow when exercising:

  • Exercise increases the use of insulin and lowers blood sugar during and after exercise.
  • Test blood sugar before, during and after exercise.
  • If your blood sugar is above 250 mg/dL, do not exercise. Your body will not have enough energy to exercise properly or efficiently (remember sugar is energy).
  • If your blood sugar is under 100 mg/dL, then do not exercise. Eat 15 grams of carbohydrates with protein/fat, and wait about 30 minutes to exercise. Wait 1-2 hours to exercise after eating a large meal. Make sure your blood sugar maintains at least 100 mg/dL throughout your exercise.
  • It is best to eat a meal with high-fiber carbohydrates mixed with lean protein and healthy fat to carry you through the exercise. This type of eating will provide energy for a prolonged period of time. You will exercise most efficiently this way.
  • If you exercise too soon after eating your blood is pooling in your stomach to assist with digestion and will not be as available to your extremities (arms and legs).
  • If you experience low blood sugar symptoms during exercise STOP and check blood sugar and treat symptoms.
  • Always carry some form of low blood sugar treatment (food, glucose tabs) since you are more prone to having low blood sugar during or after exercise.
  • Drink fluids before, during and after exercise, since your blood glucose can be affected by dehydration.
  • Be careful if your medication is peaking or working its hardest during exercise. This may cause a pronounced drop in blood sugar.

I hope these tips help! If you have a question or comment, post below!

About the Author: Marci Sloane

Marci SloaneMarci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator. She grew up in NYC where she graduated with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University. For over a decade, Marci managed a Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center at a multi-bed hospital in South Florida and has been counseling people on healthy eating, weight loss, and managing diseases and conditions such as: diabetes, pre-diabetes, healthy eating, heart disease, weight loss, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, hypertension, hypoglycemia and a host of other nutrition-related diseases. Marci is an American Diabetes Association Valor Award recipient and lectures frequently to the public and healthcare professionals. Marci was a featured panelist for the Sun-Sentinel's "Let's Take It Off" weight loss program, was highlighted in the Palm Beach Post: Meet Your Neighbor, "Woman's book on healthy eating uses humor as a key ingredient" and was a participant in their Diabetes Series in 2007. Marci Sloane is a member of the American Diabetes Association’s Health Professional Committee.

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