Exercise in Diabetes: Part 7

Learn your blood glucose response to exercise

•Everyone’s blood glucose response to exercise is different. Checking your blood glucose before and after exercise can show you the benefits of activity. You also can use the results of your blood glucose checks to prevent low blood glucose or high blood glucose.

•If your blood glucose is high before you exercise (above 300), physical activity can make it go even higher, so be cautious about doing something active. For those with type 1 diabetes, if your fasting glucose level is above 250 and you have ketones in your urine, it’s best to avoid physical activity.

•Learn how to avoid low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). - Keep in mind that low blood glucose can occur during or long after physical activity. Low blood glucose is most likely if you:

*Take insulin or diabetes pill

*Skip a meal

*Exercise a long time

*Exercise strenuously

•If low blood glucose is interfering with your exercise routine, eating a snack before you exercise or adjusting your medication may help. Talk to your health care team about what is right for you. During activity, check your blood glucose if you notice symptoms such as hunger, nervousness, shakiness, or sweating. If your blood glucose is 70 or below, have 2 to 5 glucose tablets, ½ cup (4 ounces) of fruit juice or other source of carbohydrate, to raise your blood glucose. After 15 minutes, check your blood glucose again. If it’s still below 70, have another serving and repeat these steps until your blood glucose is at least 70.

•Plan to have water and snacks handy during activity. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activity. If you are at risk for low blood glucose, always carry a source of carbohydrate to so you’ll be ready to treat low blood glucose. Unless you are very active for an hour or more, you probably will not need to eat anything during or after your exercise session. If you do need a snack, good choices are fast acting carbohydrate like fruits or yogurt. When exercising, you can also carry sugar, hard candy, such as mints etc. in case your blood glucose drops suddenly.

•Wear a medical identification bracelet, necklace, or a medical ID tag to protect yourself in case of emergency.

•Symptoms of low blood sugar exercising: Hypoglycemia usually occurs gradually, so you need to pay attention to how you're feeling during exercise. You may feel a change in your heartbeat, suddenly sweat more, feel shaky or anxious, or feel hungry. When you feel this way, you should stop exercising and follow your doctor's advice about how to treat hypoglycemia.

2 Replies

  • I'm sorry, I disagree about the use of 'fast acting' carbohydrates. It is much better to use low GI carbohydrates to provide a steady stream of energy, rather than suffer the spikes and danger of hypos that accompany 'fast acting', high glycaemic foods.


  • For immediate relief it becomes necessary to use fast acting carbs .When the position gets normal , care on other way is appreciable.

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