How Exercise Impacts Glucose In The Moment
When you exercise, your body relies on two sources of fuel: glucose and fat. How your blood sugar changes during exercise depends on the intensity level of your workout and the fuel source your body is using.
Steady-state cardio exercises, like jogging or gentle swimming, donât rely on your body having to produce quick bursts of energy. In these cases, it gets more of its energy from fat, so your blood sugar will usually stay at the same level or decrease.
Higher-intensity exercises like HIIT, strength training, and sprinting cause your body to release a surge of adrenaline. To ensure that you have enough energy readily available for this, your body releases glucose from your liver, increasing your blood sugar levels.
Put more simply, your body works through exercise using supply and demand. During high-intensity exercises, it doesn’t have the supply of energy on hand to fuel your workout. So, it releases glucose, immediately meeting the energy demand to fuel your workout while causing a short-term spike in blood sugar. During low-intensity exercise, your body has enough energy on hand to meet the demand, so blood glucose typically stays steady or decreases.
Short-term level changes like these are not harmful, just a standard part of our physiology.
Reduced Adipose Cell Size
Obesity is a known risk factor for developing diabetes and heart disease. Actually, itâs the leading risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Fact. And, if you carry that extra fat around your abdomen, you are at a much higher risk of all-cause mortality than people who store their excess fat in their thighs.
Exercise reduces fat cell size, specifically abdominal fat cells. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that women who both dieted and exercised had an 18% reduction in the size of abdominal fat cells compared to those that relied on diet alone.
Why is this important? A reduction in fat cellsâ size improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood sugar levels, and reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
Dont Forget Safety First
Always remember to stretch before and after exercising to avoid injuries. You can find some good warm up and cool down exercises here.
Because exercise lowers blood sugar to varying degrees, its a good idea to check your levels before, during and after exercising to see how your body reacts to different activities. Be sure to carry some form of fast-acting carbohydrate with you in case you have to treat low blood sugar quickly.
If you do the same exercises regularly, youll eventually become in tune with your own blood sugar patterns and can plan accordingly. Find more tips for safely exercising with diabetes.
Making exercise a regular part of your life will have a positive impact on your healthand your blood sugar levels. Its one of the best things you can do to manage and live well with diabetes.
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How To Quickly Lower Blood Sugar
Expert Reviewed The easiest way to lower blood sugar is to take your prescribed insulin. However, your body may take as long as four hours to absorb insulin, and taking too much insulin can kill you. If you need to quickly lower your blood sugar, drink plenty of water and go for a walk. A diet with protein-rich foods, leafy greens, and healthy fats can also help quickly lower your blood sugar. If high blood sugar is a recurring problem for you, talk to your doctor as soon as possible about adjusting your treatment regimen.Continue reading >>
What Does The Research Say About Walking With Diabetes
I found many published studies on walking with diabetes, and most showed a benefit. Ive categorized them below into type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and prediabetes/overweight/obese. The list below is not exhaustive by any stretch, but I hope it gives a broad sense of some of the scientific research supporting the benefits of walking.
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Managing Your Blood Sugar Levels When Exercising
Some days you might do exactly the same type of activity and eat the same foods, but your blood sugar levels may be completely different to what youd expect. This is completely normal, but we know it can be really frustrating. ;
Although everyone manages their diabetes differently, these tips can be a useful starting point to build your confidence and get you moving:;
- if you normally check blood sugars, keep a record of what happens when youre being active and show this to your diabetes nurse or doctor;
- if youre at risk of hypos, keep hypo treatments handy, as well as a snack with some carbs in e.g. a sandwich, a piece of fruit or a cereal bar ;
- wear your diabetes ID so people around you can help if they need to;
How To Lower Blood Sugar Immediately Without Medication
Several of these options can work to get blood sugar immediately without medication in the short-term without additional medication. These solutions are meant to be implemented on days when life just doesnt go as planned, maybe you eat something you werent supposed to or forget to take your medicine. But, if you are correctly managing your blood sugar you should not need to be constantly chasing highs and lows. With the correct combination of healthy lifestyle choices and medication, you can maintain a stable blood sugar level most of the time. Additionally, checking your levels frequently and keeping a log of your numbers, can help you learn how your body reacts to stress, food, exercise, and whatever life throws your way.
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What The Researchers Found
Aerobic exercise helped to lower blood sugar and increase fitness levels among participants. Programs that were longer in duration led to greater decreases in blood sugar levels. Compared to low or moderate intensity exercise, high intensity exercise was slightly more effective in decreasing blood sugar and effective in increasing fitness. Insulin resistance, fasting glucose and insulin levels were also improved by the exercise programs.
How Can I Incorporate Walking And Other Types Of Exercise Into My Daily Routine
1. Take it one step at a time: A good way to start something new is to take it slow, set achievable goals, and then make them more ambitious over time. If you dont walk at all right now, make a goal to walk one minute per day. Next week, walk two minutes per day. Starting small and building up over time makes starting a new goal less daunting. Plus, the gains you make will give you a sense of satisfaction and encourage you to keep going.
2. Make a schedule: One easy way to remind yourself to walk or exercise is to schedule it on your calendar this can serve as a daily reminder, as well as a way to protect that time and avoid overscheduling yourself. And if your goal is 100 minutes of walking per week, a calendar can make it seem manageable: just 15 minutes per day.
3. Involve friends and family: Having someone join you in an exercise program can help keep you accountable , make the time pass more quickly, and even help foster some healthy competition.
4. Make it fun: To pass the time while walking, Ive become a huge fan of listening to audiobooks, music, or calling family members. There are also a variety of smartphone apps that are designed to make walking more fun, trackable over time, and even more competitive. I’m a big fan of activity trackers like Fitbit, which can be very motivating for increasing daily steps.
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Blood Sugar Lowering Activities That Will Improve Long
Being on the defense when it comes to blood sugar management isnt always optimal, but lets face it, it happens. But that doesnt mean that you cant be proactive when it comes to improving your insulin sensitivity, and thereby daily blood sugar levels.
The key to improving your insulin sensitivity is to add resistance training to your exercise routine. And before you stop reading, Im not necessarily talking about hitting the gym and lifting massive weights.
You can, of course, do that, but if resistance training is new to you, I suggest you ease into it with bodyweight exercises in the comfort of your home. Start out with pushups against a wall and air squats until you build up enough strength to advance to more demanding exercises.
If you decide to exercise at home, check out my home resistance training videos for inspiration.
The beauty of resistance training is that it will improve your insulin sensitivity up to 48-hours after youre done! Increasing your overall muscle mass will further serve to permanently improve your insulin sensitivity.
Highest Rates Of Diabetes Worldwide
Among Pima Indians over age 35 in Arizona, the rate of type 2 diabetes is eight times the national average. In fact, the prevalence of diabetes on the reservation is the highest recorded anywhere in the world. By age 50, nearly 60% of the Pimas in Arizona have type 2 diabetes.
I am in awe of how quickly peoples health improves at Pritikin within days! says Kimberly Gomer. Its a beautiful thing! Knowing that Im a part of their success is a privilege.
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So Activity Lowers Blood Sugar But Not Always
Personally, I experienced this very early on and was extremely irritated! I just learned that exercise lowers blood sugar, but;an intense 45-minute run consistently resulted in higher blood sugars than when I started! What in the world? At first, I was confused and felt like I didn’t understand anything anymore. Then it was more of a “would you look at this?” kind of thing. And finally, I was determined to figure out what was happening. I knew there had to be an explanation.
Glucose Metabolism During High
In intense exercise , unlike at lesser intensities, glucose is the exclusive muscle fuel. Catecholamine levels rise markedly, causing glucose production to rise seven- to eightfold while glucose utilization is only increased three- to fourfold. In people without diabetes there is a small blood glucose increase during intense exercise that increases further immediately at exhaustion and persists for up to 1 hour. Plasma insulin levels rise, correcting the glucose level and restoring muscle glycogen. This physiological response would be absent in type 1 diabetics.
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What Are The Best Exercises For Blood Sugar Control
There are a number of exercises that can help you improve your blood sugar control. Ideally doing a combination of exercises will give you the most benefit. Some of the exercises with the most health benefits include:
- Aerobic exercise: continuous bouts of exercise that elevate your breathing and heart rate.
- Resistance training: brief, repetitive exercises using weights, resistance bands or your own body weight to build muscle strength. Choose approximately six to eight exercises that target the major muscle groups in the body.
- ;Interval training: short bursts of vigorous exercise combined with short rest periods of rest up to three minutes in length.
- Aquatic exercise: water activities can have similar health benefits to other exerciseand have the benefit of being easy on the joints for people with conditions such as osteoarthritis. Try brisk water walking or swimming laps.
Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any exercise regimen to determine what is safe for you. Also, consult a qualified exercise specialist when beginning resistance training to check for proper technique/posture.
The Story Of The Pima Indians
Research has found3 that the Pima Indians are a perfect example of how powerfully our environment can dictate who gets obese and diabetic, and who doesnt.
Today, two main groups of Pima Indians live on earth. The first group lives high in the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico a rural environment. The second group lives in Arizona on the Gila River reservation. Both groups are thought to be genetically identical. Scientists estimate they were separated about 700 to 1,000 years ago. For DNA evolutionary development, thats a mere pittance of time.
But physically, the two groups today could not be more different.
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Why Do Women With Gestational Diabetes Need To Exercise
Gestational diabetes occurs when your body becomes resistant to the insulin it produces during pregnancy. This happens as a result of the increased insulin demands imposed by pregnancy. When you have gestational diabetes, your blood glucose levels run higher than they normally would.
One way to lower blood glucose levels is to exercise. When we exercise, our muscles take in more glucose. When this effect wears off, our muscles remain more sensitive to insulin for some time. The end result is lower blood glucose levels.
Along with following a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise is an important part of managing gestational diabetes.
Stick To Your Medication And Insulin Regimen
Skipping a dose of medication or insulin can be harmful to your body and increase your blood sugar levels.
Its important to stick to your treatment plan and follow your doctors instructions for taking your medication.
Healthful lifestyle habits can help people manage their blood sugar levels over the long term, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, staying hydrated, and getting good sleep.
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Sweet Potatoes And Yams
Which foodslower blood sugar instantly? Can you eat potatoes if you have diabetes? Theseare common questions asked to us. Regular potatoes have a high GI scorecompared to sweet potatoes or yams. Consider them as go-to alternatives with highnutritive value for diabetics.
How to add it to your diet:
- Substitute themfor potatoes in various dishes French fries, casseroles, mashed potatoes,etc.
- Makepuddings and baked goodies
- Yam chipsalso taste delicious.
When To Contact Your Doctor
Hyperglycemia can turn into a medical emergency like DKA and HHS that requires immediate intervention by your doctor or a local emergency department.;If you have two blood sugar readings of 300 mg/dL or more, or have blood sugar above your target range for more than a week, seek immediate medical help.
Signs of hyperglycemia include:
- Ketones in your urine
- Stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
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Checking Blood Sugar Levels
Among people without diabetes, post-meal blood glucose levels increased an average of 50 milligrams per deciliter if they exercised after eating. That is what we like to see in healthy people,” Kudva says. Readings increased by up to 100 mg/dL if they were inactive.
Among people with type 1 diabetes, blood glucose levels rose an average of 80 milligrams per deciliter if they exercised after eating and 150 mg/dL if they were inactive.
Most people without diabetes have blood sugar levels in the 70s, while people with the condition aim for a reading of 70-130 mg/dL. The recommended post-meal blood sugar level for people with diabetes is less than 180 mg/dL.
“If a diabetic patient’s blood sugar is 100 or higher before eating, an increase of 150 is pretty significant,” Kudva says. Over time, persistently high blood sugar can give rise to a host of complications ranging from blindness to kidney problems, he says.
James B. Meigs, MD, of Harvard Medical School, tells WebMD that there’s been a lot of debate about the right amount of exercise for people with diabetes.
“This confirms that a little exercise is better than none. It’s the people who are really sedentary who have poor blood sugar control,” he says.
These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.
Take A Pass On The Bread Bowl
Its obvious that sugary stuff leads to an increase in blood sugar, but starchy foods can do the same thing. Your body processes simple carbs quickly and turns them into sugar, and it needs a lot of insulin to absorb them. That means a bag of Doritos is as likely as a candy bar to cause a spike.
If youre in the middle of a blood sugar spike, its best to curtail your carb intake. Check the glycemic index if youre not sure about a food.
Surprisingly, popcorn and white potatoes are worse than ice cream, according to the index. If you stick to low-carb/low-glycemic-index foods, your blood sugar will return to normal much more quickly.
Ultimately, its best to limit your carb intake. A 2004 study found that a diet of 20 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 50 percent fat lowered fasting blood sugar and kept blood sugar from spiking after meals.
This was a very small study, but the results suggest that lower carb intake can lead to generally lower blood glucose. In general, most people with diabetes eat 40 to 45 percent of their calories in the form of carbohydrates. Choosing nutrient-rich sources of carbs is best.
Another promising study found that after two years on a low-carb diet, many participants with type 2 diabetes were able to manage their condition without medication or resolve it entirely.
The occasional baked potato isnt a problem, but frequent trips to the drive-through are not a good idea. Find a few veggie-and-protein-heavy meals and make them your go-tos.
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