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How Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar


Reduced Adipose Cell Size

How Can Exercise Lower Your Blood Sugar?

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.

How To Exercise Safely With Diabetes

Exercise is recommended for all people with diabetes, though some may have to take extra precautions. For example, people with type 1 diabetes should be particularly careful.

“For type 1 diabetics, exercise can lower blood sugar more dramatically,” Hsu says. Dangerously low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can cause health complications including seizures and coma in severe cases.


People with type 1 diabetes should carefully plan their exercises around food intake and insulin dosage, according to the ADA. It’s also important to measure your blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise or check your blood sugar with a continuous glucose monitor.

If you have diabetes and are starting an exercise routine, you should take the following steps:

  • Speak with your doctor. Let them know if you’ve had any other health complications with diabetes, like eye problems, heart disease, or stroke.
  • Start slow. Familiarize yourself with how exercise affects your blood sugar by measuring your blood sugar before and after exercise, and monitoring any major changes. Your blood sugar should stay within the healthy range that you and your doctor have established.
  • Monitor your feet for ulcers or sores. Many diabetics have decreased sensation in their feet, Li says, so you might not notice pain from sores. Visual monitoring can help you spot them and prevent infection.

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Dont Do Resistance Training To Get A High Blood Sugar Down

While resistance training is great for improving your insulin sensitivity, its not the appropriate type of exercise if youre looking to get a high blood sugar down quickly since it can make your blood sugar increase during your workout .

The spike in blood sugars that many people see during resistance training is only temporary, but not what you want if you are trying to lower your blood sugar.


I hope that this post has given you a good idea of how you can use exercise to lower your blood sugars, even if youre not on any medications, as well as given you an overview of which types of exercise if optimal for different goals. Now go have fun with it!

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Best Type Of Exercise When You Have Diabetes

FAQ: Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar?

There isnt one type of activity thats best for everyone with diabetes – its about finding what works for you. This can depend on lots of things, like what you enjoy, where you are and how much time you have. Try to think about how activity can fit in with your life, not the other way around.

Were running free physical activity classes for people living with diabetes, both online and face-to-face with coronavirus safety measures in place. and start your journey to move more.

In general, its best to try and do a mixture of different types of activity. This is because different types of activity have different benefits, and use different parts of your body.


For example, swimming can make you breathe harder and raise your heart rate. This is good for your heart health because your heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body. When you have diabetes, keeping your heart healthy is even more important because youre more at risk of complications, including heart disease.

Gardening, however, can help with strength, and doing something like digging can help the body use insulin better.

Some people can find that doing the same thing can get boring after a while, so weve put together a list of ideas to give you inspiration or to help you get started.

And weve also teamed up with Sport England and other charity partners to help promote moving more across the UK in the We Are Undefeatable campaign.

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Elevated Blood Glucose Levels

Without the effects of exercise, blood glucose stays higher than it would do otherwise. Studies link elevated A1C levels to complications of diabetes that relate to blood vessel damage. High blood glucose harms blood vessels in ways that lead to an array of health issues, such as retinal damage, which can cause blindness.

Exercise helps keep blood glucose at healthy levels. Healthy blood glucose levels prevent damage to the blood vessels.

  • fatty or processed meats, such as hot dogs, sausage, and fatty cuts of pork or beef
  • partially hydrogenated and trans fats, such as shortening, coffee creamer, and some hard margarines

Mitochondrial Function And Health

Most human cells contain tiny organelles called mitochondria. They are the âpowerhouseâ of the cell, generating the cell’s energy currency known as adenosine triphosphate . These tiny powerhouses convert chemical energy into energy that the body can use by turning glucose into oxygen and ATP.

Research published in the journal Cell Metabolism shows that exercise increases the number of mitochondria in the muscle cells. Not only that, but it causes them to function better too! The more efficiently they work, the better you perform. More mitochondria mean your cells turn more glucose into energy. This makes your body more insulin sensitive. So, through exercising, you are helping to lower your risk of diabetes.

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Why Do My Blood Sugars Go Up With Certain Types Of Exercise

Glucose is the fuel that is used almost exclusively during intense exercise. Because the demand for glucose is so high, the body needs to retrieve some from its storage form of glucose . Levels of certain hormones, including adrenaline , increase causing blood sugars to rise seven- to eight-fold. However, glucose utilization only increases three-to four fold. Ultimately, more glucose is produced than is used. Even for people who dont have diabetes, this causes a small rise in blood sugar during intense exercise that may persist for up to one or two hours. Insulin levels rise to bring blood sugar back to normal. However, people with type 2 diabetes may not have enough insulin, and their muscles may not use the insulin well enough, to bring sugars back down quickly. For people with type 1 diabetes, the physiological response is absent.

How To Quickly Lower Blood Sugar

10 Light Exercises to Lower Blood Sugar Levels | GlucoseZone

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 > >

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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.


Faq: Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar

To get straight to the point: yes, exercise can lower blood sugar. But exercise can also raise blood sugar. It depends on what kind of exercise youre doing. Aerobic exercise will likely lower blood sugar, while anaerobic exercise will likely raise blood sugar.

Aerobic exercise is what you might call cardio. Essentially, it is activity that will get your heart-rate going for a longer period of time. Examples of this are cycling, jogging, swimming, and rowing.

This increases blood flow in the body, which in turn promotes insulin sensitivity. Additionally, the muscles use up glucose. In other words, cardio lowers blood sugar because the body is able to transport more glucose to the cells than it normally would.

Anaerobic exercise is a shorter and more intense kind of activity it will get you out of breath quickly. Examples of this are interval training, weightlifting, sprinting, and jumping.

More specifically, anaerobic exercise doesnt rely on oxygen. Instead, it relies on energy from the muscles. To get that energy, the body increases hormones like adrenaline which promote the liver to release its store of glucose. That extra release of glucose raises blood sugar levels.


So, does exercise lower blood sugar? Yes and no. But there are ways to keep blood sugar stable when you exercise. Read on to find out more!

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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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Take Extra Precautions With Evening Exercise

Type 2 diabetes: Walking is the best exercise you can do ...

Exercise does two things for those who have type 2 diabetes, says Dr. Hatipoglu.

First, your muscles need energy to work. To feed them, your body burns sugar as an energy source, lowering the glucose levels in your blood.

Second, when you exercise regularly, it helps your body use insulin more efficiently. This can lower your blood sugar levels for up to 12 hours after you exercise.

Also, keeping blood sugar low on a regular basis can dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease, Dr. Hatipoglu says.


Every person reacts a little differently to exercise, so she recommends tracking your blood sugar levels for four to five hours after post-meal exercise to see what your trend is. This can help you determine if your levels are healthy or drop too much.

This is particularly important if you exercise in the evening.

Especially after dinner, you need to know what your body will do when you exercise, she says. If you go to bed and glucose drops it can create a dangerous clinical situation.

Exercising after a meal is a good way to reduce blood glucose levels and lower your risk of complications from diabetes, including heart disease.

But, before starting or changing your exercise regimen, talk with your doctor to determine what is best for you.


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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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How Long And How Hard Do You Need To Exercise To Lower Blood Sugar

If you think you have to slug through 60 minutes of exercise or more to lower blood sugar, get ready to whoop out loud.

One study showed that small doses of intense exerciseâsix, one-minute intervals performed at 90% max heart rateâlowered post-meal glucose and reduced glucose concentration13 in the blood for a day after. Results showed microworkouts, or âexercise snacks,â lowered glucose response to meals just as well as a moderate-paced 30-minute walk done before eatingâand possibly even better than a brisk 30-minute walk after dinner.


Another study found that eight to 20 minutes per week of high-intensity exercise improved blood glucose14 on that day and for up to three days after the workout in both diabetics and non-diabetics.

You donât have to go to the mattresses during every workout to lower blood sugar. Particularly if you have impaired glucose tolerance, the oxidative stress that high-intensity efforts can cause15 could derail your efforts.

A small study conducted on women with diabetes found that low-intensity exercise was as effective as high-intensity exercise in enhancing insulin sensitivity16. Another study on men revealed that post-meal exercise at any intensity17 for 30 minutes impacted glucose regulation equally.

A meta-analysis of 51 scientific studies revealed that a single bout of aerobic exercise performed for at least 30 minutes significantly 18.

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Special Considerations For People With Diabetes

Protect your feet by wearing cotton socks with well-fitting athletic shoes.

Before starting any physical activity, check with your health care provider to talk about the best physical activities for you. Be sure to discuss which activities you like, how to prepare, and what you should avoid.

  • Drink plenty of fluids while being physically active to prevent dehydration .
  • Make sure to check your blood sugar before being physically active, especially if you take insulin.
  • If its below 100 mg/dL, you may need to eat a small snack containing 15-30 grams of carbohydrates, such as 2 tablespoons of raisins or ½ cup of fruit juice or regular soda , or glucose tablets so your blood sugar doesnt fall too low while being physically active. Low blood sugar can be very serious.
  • If its above 240 mg/dL, your blood sugar may be too high to be active safely. Test your urine for ketones substances made when your body breaks down fat for energy. The presence of ketones indicates that your body doesnt have enough insulin to control your blood sugar. If you are physically active when you have high ketone levels, you risk ketoacidosis a serious diabetes complication that needs immediate treatment.
  • When youre physically active, wear cotton socks and athletic shoes that fit well and are comfortable.
  • After your activity, check to see how it has affected your blood glucose level.
  • Increased Glucose Uptake Without Extra Insulin

    Simple exercises help lower Blood Glucose

    When you have just eaten or are resting, glucose uptake into your muscles relies on insulin. If your blood sugar level rises , it stimulates insulin release. The insulin then acts on your cells to use or store the excess glucose.

    The uptake of glucose is much different when you are exercising. According to the American Journal of Physiology, exercise increases muscle glucose uptake up to 100-fold compared to being at rest!

    And, this uptake does not rely on insulin. Scientists suggest that it is due to a protein called glucose transporter type 4 . But even they are still figuring out exactly how it happens.

    Itâs important to note that the muscle glucose uptake that happens during exercise can still occur in people who suffer from insulin resistance and diabetes. In this case, it acts as an effective lifestyle treatment for anyone with these conditions. And, as mentioned at the beginning, exercise can reverse insulin resistance and prediabetes. Pretty great, right?

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    When Does Exercise Lower Blood Sugar

    If youre doing cardio, then exercise should always lower blood sugar. However, there are certain times of the day when you will be more insulin sensitive.

    If exercise is adding to that insulin sensitivity, then you might end up with blood sugar that is too low. So, its best to think about how timing, insulin, and exercise will affect you.

    Hedia can take exercise into account when calculating your recommended insulin dosage. Give the app a workout at the App Store or !

    Usually, insulin sensitivity decreases throughout the day . This is true for people with or without diabetes.

    But, this can be different for those with insulin-dependent diabetes. You might find that your insulin medications actually result in less glucose being used in the morning. Effectively, this would make you less insulin sensitive in the morning.

    Christel Oerum the popular fitness blogger with type 1 diabetes explains: our basal insulin will vary throughout the day Ill need more insulin to cover a given amount of carbs in the morning than I do for the exact same type and amount of carbs at night.

    In that case, it might be easier for you to exercise at a different time of day. Clearly, its a fairly individual matter. So, it all comes down to trial-and-error.

    When doing anaerobic exercise, the situation could be in reverse. Since anaerobic exercise raises blood sugar, you might consider doing it when you are more insulin-sensitive, in order to balance out the blood sugar levels.

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