Exercise: Physical Activity
Being active helps lower your blood sugar. It does this by helping your body use insulin to turn food into energy.
Activity also helps you manage your weight.
Current American Diabetes Association recommendations are to participate in 150 minutes of physical activity per week. For example, 30 minutes of exercise 5 days per week would meet these recommendations.
Your healthcare team will work with you to create an activity program that’s right for you.
Your activity program will be based on your age, general health, and what type of activity you like to do.
Exercise Offers Important Benefits
Lowers blood sugar levels
Lowers blood pressure
Increases bone strength
Lowers stress levels
Getting Activity into Your Day
Being more active doesn’t have to be hard work.
Your healthcare team will work with you to create an activity program that’s right for you. Your activity program will be based on your age, general health, and what type of activity you like to do.
Try these to get more activity into your daily life:
- Take a 10-minute walk around the block at lunch
- Walk the dog after dinner
- Walk to a bus stop a little farther from your home or office
- Walk to talk to a co-worker instead of calling
- Choose a parking space farther from the store
- Do arm chair exercises
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Garden, do housework, and yard work
Exercise Precautions with Diabetes
- Check blood sugar before and after exercise
- Blood sugar 100 or less: have a snack of about 15 grams of carbohydrate if blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dl before exercising.
- Higher than normal blood sugar readings: if your blood sugar has been ranging between 250-300mg/dl, it is okay to exercise with caution. Drink plenty of non-calorie liquids and if you start to feel extreme fatigue or muscle weakness stop and rest.
- Unexpected high blood sugar: If your blood sugar has been in goal range and is now elevated between 250-300m/dl, exercising is not recommended. Elevated blood sugar can be a sign of illness. Rest, check blood sugar every 2 hours, and drink plenty of non-calorie fluids; consult your health care provider if your blood sugar doesn't come down or has gotten higher.
- Know the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and have a carbohydrate source available
- If you use insulin or experiencing frequent low sugar events during or after exercise please consult for health care provider for direction
- Sometimes insulin and/or other oral medications such as glyburide or glipizide need to be adjusted before exercising
- Protect your feet with shoes that fit well and are soft and absorbent
- Bring water with you and drink before, during, and after exercising to replace what you lose from sweating. Avoid using sports drinks that have added sugar and sodium. If you are physically active for long periods of time look for sports drinks that have zero carbohydrates.
- Start slowly and increase activity gradually
- Wear diabetes identification