Watch Your Blood Glucose Levels when Exercising

Written by Julie M. Gentile
Reviewed by Amy Hess Fischl, MS, RD, LDN, BC-ADM, CDE

You already know that exercise can help you with your goal blood glucose levels—even long after you stop exercising—but there are other things you should know when it comes to blood glucose levels and exercising with diabetes.In this article, we'll walk you through when to monitor blood glucose levels, and we'll go over some special considerations for exercising with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

Exercise's impact on your blood glucose levels is pretty complex because so many factors are involved: how long you exercise, how intense the exercise is, and your blood glucose levels before you start a workout. Also, the impact exercise has on blood glucose levels can vary from person to person. That's why it's so crucial to talk to your healthcare professional before you get started with an exercise routine.

Monitoring Blood Glucose Levels Before, During, and After Exercise

Before exercising with diabetes, you should:

During exercise, you should:

After exercising, you should:

Be sure to keep track of your blood glucose levels before, during, and after exercise; you can do this by writing down your numbers in a blood glucose levels log. This information can help you determine what worked for you the next time you exercise.

Considerations If You're Taking Insulin

In general, you have to be more careful when exercising if you're taking insulin since your risk of hypoglycemia can increase during and after exercise.

Here are some considerations for exercising if you're taking insulin:

Other Considerations for People with Diabetes

There are some other special considerations for exercising with diabetes you need to be aware of:

Blood Glucose Testing and Your Exercise Routine

Although testing and adjusting your blood glucose levels to fit your exercise routine can take some time, exercise is beneficial in the long run because it can help you reach your goal blood glucose levels. When you make exercise a part of your daily routine, it becomes easier. Remember to stick with it—you can do it.