Welcome to DIY (Do It Yourself) Diabetes with Marci Page Sloane

Diabetes & Exercise
Marci’s DIY tips for exercising

Exercise 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.

Marci Sloane, MS, RD, LD/N, CDE, is a registered and licensed dietitian/nutritionist and certified diabetes educator with a degree in Nutrition and Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University. Marci is the author of The Diet Game: Playing for Life! More about Marci Sloane

The goal of Destination Diabetes is to be a useful and credible resource for the more than 20 million children and adults who have diabetes in the U.S. and their families. Destination Diabetes provides information on a wide range of diabetes health and wellness topics. Articles are written or reviewed by diabetes advisors who have experience in diabetes education.