We have seen not too long ago a study showing that people with diabetes who exercise even 15 minutes a day, can extend their lives. This is not a benefit to taking it lightly!

And now we have a new study that confirms the prior results. Check also the tips in this article to control your blood sugar while exercising.

The article was posted by Everyday HEALTH website on September 27

Controlling Blood Sugar Levels During Exercise

Exercise should be part of your diabetes management plan, but you need to take certain precautions. Use these strategies to manage blood sugar levels during your workouts.

Exercise for diabetes is critically important. When you speak to physicians who treat diabetes, they can’t emphasize this point enough. “No drug can do what exercise does for diabetes,” says Betul Hatipoglu, MD, a physician in the Cleveland Clinic’s department of endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism.

One benefit is that exercise helps lower the amount of sugar in the blood. “The effects often last 12 to 14 hours,” says Dr. Hatipoglu. Regular exercise offers longer-lasting benefits as well, including controlled blood sugar, improved cholesterol levels, weight management, and lower blood pressure.

Unfortunately, many people with type 2 diabetes tend to avoid exercise. Like anyone else, people with diabetes may choose not to exercise because they can’t find the time, lack motivation, or just don’t like to work out. Another reason may be a fear that exercise will cause problems with controlling blood sugar levels and even bring on symptoms of low blood sugar, such as weakness and fatigue.

Hatipoglu agrees that exercise will cause blood sugar levels to drop in the majority of people with type 2 diabetes. However, this is a good thing. It happens because your body is using sugar to fuel the work of your muscles.

The secret, of course, is to have the proper blood sugar level as you exercise. This will prevent symptoms of low blood sugar from occurring during your workout. To do this, Hatipoglu says to check your blood sugar levels before you start exercising. “If your levels are below 100 mg/dl, then you’ll want to eat some carbohydrates to bring them up to the proper level before you exercise,” she says.

“If your levels are higher than 250 mg/dl, then you need to check for ketones in the urine. If ketones are present, you’ll want to avoid exercising at that time. If no ketones are present, you can drink some water and proceed with moderate exercise.”

If you exercise for longer than an hour, check your blood sugar levels again at the 60-minute mark to make sure they’re still in a safe range. If they are, you can continue to exercise.

Exercise Tips for Diabetes

When beginning an exercise program, start with low-intensity workouts and slowly increase your intensity. For many people with type 2 diabetes, good exercises to start with include walking, cycling, and swimming.

Before you choose an activity, consider other health concerns related to diabetes. For example, if you have eye problems, Hatipoglu suggests avoiding exercises that can cause eye strain, like lifting heavyweights.

People who have neuropathy related to diabetes that has led to open sores on the feet should also take precautions. You should always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program on your own.

To get the most benefits from fitness, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week. “It’s been shown that exercising for 10 minutes at a time three times a day is just as beneficial as doing 30 minutes at once, so don’t worry about pushing yourself too hard at first,” says Hatipoglu.

In rare instances, some people with type 2 diabetes may experience high blood sugar levels while performing vigorous exercises due to hormones that are secreted when exercising at a high level. If you plan to progress to exercising at a very vigorous level, you should see your doctor get more specific guidelines for controlling blood sugar levels.

Exercise for Diabetes: Why It’s So Important

As long as you are working out safely, exercise is a huge benefit for people with type 2 diabetes and a major component of a successful treatment program. Here’s how it can help:

Exercise decreases blood sugar. Remember that a drop in blood sugar related to exercise is a positive development. “It means that the muscles are using the sugar to work, with no need for insulin,” says Hatipoglu.

It improves A1C test results. An A1C test is a tool that doctors use to observe your blood sugar levels and see how well you’re managing your diabetes. The results typically reflect your average blood sugar levels for the past two or three months. When you exercise regularly, you can expect your A1C test results to improve as well.

It lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common type 2 diabetes symptom, and the combination of these two conditions can increase your risk of complications, such as poor blood circulation and heart disease. Exercise more, and you can expect your blood pressure levels to fall.

It improves blood cholesterol levels. Exercise has also been shown to reduce levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. Heart disease is closely linked to type 2 diabetes, so keeping cholesterol levels in a healthy range is especially important.

It may help you live longer. Large-scale studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes who exercise the most are the least likely to die at an early age.

It makes you feel great. Exercise is a proven mood-booster. It increases your feelings of overall well-being and may reduce depression.

In addition to all of this, exercise can help you manage your weight. And as the pounds start to melt off, you’ll begin to feel even better.

Final word

As you have seen, there are many benefits for diabetics derived from exercising. But, if you have diabetes, the main benefit is that it extends your life. Something to give some consideration to.


I am Andy Carpenter and I would start by saying that I have a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition Science conferred by California State University, Los Angeles and that I am certified as a Registered Dietitian.

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