Exercise 1 & 2

Part of a successful diabetes management plan requires you to keep your blood glucose level under control by watching what you eat and exercising regularly. Here are some tips to guide you along.

The Power of Exercise

Regular exercise is especially recommended for people with diabetes for the following reasons:
  • Tone your muscles which make them more sensitive to insulin
  • Use up energy and lower blood sugar levels
  • Help you to maintain or achieve a healthy weight
  • Relieve stress
  • Increase your lung capacity and the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream
  • Help reduce your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which in turn lowers your risk for heart disease
  • Improve blood circulation around your body, reducing the risk of arterial disease which can cause angina, heart attacks and strokes

Know When to Take it Easy

The key to exercising right when you have diabetes is knowing when not to over exert your body:
  • If your blood glucose level is too high and you do not have enough insulin available, do not exercise as it will make it go even higher.
  • It is also not advisable to exercise when you are ill as your blood glucose will rise to fight off infections, using up all your insulin. Always use a reliable meter to test your level. If it is greater than 15.0mmol/L or if you have ketones, stop exercising immediately.

Keep Hypos at Bay

Generally with diabetes, exercising will most likely make your blood glucose level go down. To prevent it from falling too low however, you should do the following before and after exercise:
  • Before exercising, take a small snack and test to make sure your blood glucose level is not too low.
  • Have glucose tablets, a sugary drink or snack on hand while you exercise, in case you feel the effects of hypo.
  • Test yourself again after your workout and decide if you need a snack or should have eaten more before you exercised.
  • If you have participated in vigorous activities, watch your level over the next 36 hours as you may need to make some longer term adjustments to your diet to avoid going into delayed hypo.
References: 1 Joslin’s Diabetes Mellitus, 14th Edition 2005, New York Ovid Technologies. 2 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Mol. NIDOK. 3 Kronenberg: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology 11th Edition 2008.Please consult your healthcare professional before making any changes.