Staying physically active is another way to help control blood sugar, along with following a healthy meal plan and taking your prescribed medications. Staying active is a good idea for everyone, but it’s even more important for people with diabetes.
Before you start
Talk to your diabetes care team before you start or change your physical activity program. They can help you decide what kind of activities are right for you. You'll also want to have a discussion about the medicines you take, both prescription and over-the-counter. You may need to change the amount you take before you are active. And your diabetes care team may want you to check your blood sugar more often when you increase your activity level.
Ideas for physical activity when you have diabetes
Extra daily activity. Chores like walking the dog, cleaning the house, and washing the car are activities you can use to boost your activity level. The idea is to lengthen some of your daily tasks in order to be active longer. You can also replace some daily activities with others. For instance, instead of taking a coffee break or having a snack, you could go for a walk
Aerobics. This type of activity means raising your heart rate and probably breaking a sweat. With aerobics, you use the large muscles in your body, such as the ones in your legs. This could include brisk walking or hiking, cycling, basketball, or other sports, dancing or taking an aerobics class at the gym
Strength training. Lifting weights or working with resistance can help you build muscle. This type of physical activity can help you burn calories more easily, since muscle burns more calories than fat. With larger, stronger muscles, you may find that you have better coordination and balance
Stretching. Simple stretches like touching your toes or sitting cross-legged can make your muscles more flexible. Stretching can also help your muscles feel less sore after exercise or a long, active day
How you choose to stay active is less important than finding a way to stay active regularly. Learn more about how to make being active a regular part of your life on Cornerstones4Care.com.
Exercise and low blood sugar
Staying active lowers blood sugar. But it may lower it too much if you also take insulin. This can result in low blood sugar (or hypoglycemia). This can happen during exercise, right after exercise, or even up to 24 hours after you work out. Always check your blood sugar before, during, and after exercising. Keep a fast-acting carbohydrate snack with you in case you experience low blood sugar.
To learn the symptoms of low blood sugar, download and print this useful Low Blood Sugar Fact Sheet. Have it with you when you do any type of physical activity.