Know your numbers and make most of exerciseBy
Exercise can have a positive effect on your blood sugar levels and a few safety precautions can help you score a “win-win” with your physical activity.
It is not a simple concept, but exercise can have an “insulin-like” effect on the body. WebMD explains that “normally, insulin is released from the pancreas when the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood increases, such as after eating.
Insulin stimulates the liver and muscles to take in excess glucose. This results in a lowering of the blood sugar level.”
Here’s how that plays out when exercising: the body needs extra energy or fuel/glucose for the muscles. For short bursts of activity, such as running to catch a bus, the muscles and the liver can release stored sugar for fuel. If your activity involves continued moderate exercise, however, your muscles burn sugar at almost 20 times the normal rate. This helps lowers blood sugar levels.
If you are not taking insulin, your insulin levels may drop so the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is minimized. (See more online at WebMD, Type 2 Diabetes and Exercise)
- Exercise can lower your blood sugar especially if you take medications that can possibly cause a low blood sugar.
- Monitoring your blood sugar before and after exercise can help to prevent this.
- Be prepared and carry glucose tablets with you in your gym bag or pocket when you exercise.
In addition to knowing your blood sugar numbers and monitoring before and after exercise, take good care of your feet to reduce injury and complications.
Foot care suggestions:
- Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes that support your feet. Soles should be thick enough to absorb shock and fitted to prevent blisters and other problems.
- Wear socks that absorb sweat. You may also purchase diabetic socks which have looser elastic for better blood flow to your feet.
- If you have nerve damage to your feet and are not able to feel things with your feet, there may be certain exercises you want to avoid. Talk with your diabetes team for more information on this.
Diabetes Management & Supplies offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services that include the expertise of an exercise physiologist. For more information on specific exercise needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.