Working Out with Diabetes: When to Measure Blood Sugar Levels

working out with diabetes

Physical exercise is an important component in the prevention and management of diabetes. It lowers your body’s insulin resistance and helps regulate blood glucose levels. But while working out with diabetes, it’s important to take some precautions. Among other things, these also include keeping track of your blood sugar levels.

Physical Exercise and Blood Glucose

After you’ve exercised, your muscles need both sugar and insulin to recover. The drop in your blood glucose levels that comes as a result of physical exercise can last for up to a full day. If your intake of carbohydrates is insufficient, especially when you’re on insulin medication, this could result in hypoglycemia.

Similarly, if there’s not enough insulin in your system, your body will amp up the blood glucose to make up the difference. So, when you’re working out with diabetes, your blood sugar levels may also rise, thus resulting in hyperglycemia.

Measuring Blood Sugar Levels

For diabetics, these fluctuations can result in a number of serious complications. As such, you need to track your blood sugar levels when working out with diabetes. This will also allow you to determine which exercises work best for your body.

Measure your blood glucose before you start your workout session. Here is what your results may show:

  • Below 100mg/dL. Your glucose levels are too low. It is thus not safe for you to exercise.
  • 100-250mg/dL. Your levels are in check and you may start your training.
  • Above 250mg/dL. Your levels are too high and working out could make them go even higher. Working out may not be safe at this point.

Because your blood glucose levels vary during exercise, you also need to check them while training. It’s best to do this every 15 minutes. If they drop below 70mg/dL, you need to stop right away. Have a glass of fruit juice or some hard candy to restore optimum levels.

Keep track of your blood sugar for up to eight hours after you’ve exercised, too. If you notice a sudden drop, eat a granola bar or some fresh fruits. Also, make sure to check with your doctor before you start a workout regimen. They will give you expert tips on how to approach working out with diabetes and warn you about the potential risks.

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