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

Why Exercise is Good for Diabetes
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.