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How Does Exercise Affect Blood Sugar

The Benefits Of Any Kind Of Exercise

How Does Exercise Affect Blood Sugar?

Sure, there are more things to think about and prepare for when exercising with type 1 diabetes. But there are also;extra;benefits! In addition to getting stronger, improving heart health, decreasing stress, aiding weight management and loss and improving general mental health, those with type 1 diabetes can see these benefits:;;

  • Muscles are better at absorbing glucose when they are contracted. This increased glucose uptake by your muscles increases insulin sensitivity the opposite of insulin resistance, a problem when the body requires more insulin to process glucose.;
  • Exercise slows carbohydrate absorption, better using the glucose it has and reducing the insulin you need. This counteracts after-meal hyperglycemia.;

Type 1 diabetes should never hold you back from your fitness goals. There are no exercises specifically for people with diabetes, any workout you want to do is possible. There will be highs and lows as you figure out what works for you, but dont let them get you down! Youve got this!

T1D athlete Maddie Maloney uses a combination of yoga and meditation to get in the right headspace for exercise. Watch her explain how she does it.

How Does Exercise Affect Blood Sugar In Type 1 Diabetes

A currently recruiting study to find out how blood sugar changes during exercise in people with type 1 diabetes

Trial name:;T1-DEXI

Diabetes type:;Type 1

What the trial is testing: This four-week at-home study is collecting data that will help to find out how blood sugar changes during exercise in people with type 1 diabetes.

The study involves being active for at least 2.5 hours a week. Participants will complete assigned exercise sessions in addition to usual activity. Participants will wear a Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor , a wrist-worn activity tracker, and use a study app to track food and exercise. Participants will also be asked;to complete online questionnaires and share diabetes device data.

Why is this new/important? Regular exercise is linked with a lower risk of diabetes-related complications in people with type 1 diabetes. However, blood sugar response to exercise can also make diabetes management more challenging. Data collected from this study will provide information that will help to understand how the body responds to different types of exercise. This can be used to inform the development of closed loop systems and decision support software. Additionally, participants may also learn more about their blood sugar response to exercise.

Trial length:;About four weeks from the start of the study.

Trial locations:;The study is conducted at-home through virtual video visits. Study exercise is completed by following exercise videos available online.

What If It Goes Untreated

Hyperglycemia can be a serious problem if you dont treat it, so its important to treat as soon as you detect it. If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, a condition called;ketoacidosis; could occur. Ketoacidosis develops when your body doesnt have enough insulin. Without insulin, your body cant use glucose for fuel, so your body breaks down fats to use for energy.

When your body breaks down fats, waste products called;ketones;are produced. Your body cannot tolerate large amounts of ketones and will try to get rid of them through the urine. Unfortunately, the body cannot release all the ketones and they build up in your blood, which can lead to ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis is life-threatening and needs immediate treatment. Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath

Talk to your doctor about how to handle this condition.

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Will It Hurt Your Joints

Long-term diabetes can affect them. Over time, blood sugar starts to build up in them, a process called âglycation.â Good control over your disease can help delay it, but the longer you have the diabetes, the more likely it will happen.

Glycation can make your joints stiff and brittle. Pounding away with HIIT or making a lot of fast moves might be risky — one wrong move could lead to an injury. Routines that have you do the same moves over and over can cause problems. Stiff joints can also take a toll on your balance, setting you up for a fall.

Many people with type 2 diabetes take cholesterol medications called statins. They can cause muscle or joint pain, making it tough for you to do high-impact moves correctly or quickly. These drugs also make muscle or joint injuries more likely.

On the other hand, workouts like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are good choices. Theyâll help you build your strength, balance, and flexibility.

How The Body Uses Glucose

How does Exercise Affect Blood Sugar Levels

The body gets most of its glucose supply by metabolizing the carbohydrates in food. The body stores some of this glucose in the liver and muscle tissue for later use, in the form of glycogen. The liver also produces its own supply of glucose to keep blood sugars stable between meals and overnight, according to the University of California, San Francisco.

Read more:How Long Does It Take for Blood Sugar Levels to Peak After Eating?

Normally, the body maintains balanced blood sugar levels by means of an intricate, tightly controlled system. Insulin and glucagon are two of the primary hormones in this system, according to Kaiser Permanente. Insulin helps move glucose out of the blood and into the cells, which use it for fuel. This process lowers blood sugar. If blood sugar levels drop too low , the body releases glucagon, which signals the liver to release stored glucose.

People with diabetes have systems that either don’t make enough insulin or can’t use insulin effectively , per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. As a result, glucose builds up in their bloodstream, causing high blood sugar . Insufficient insulin action and the medications used to manage it can cause significant blood sugar fluctuations during exercise for people with diabetes.

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Why Does Exercise Sometimes Raise Blood Sugar

Exercise can trigger the body to release stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline can stimulate the liver and the adrenal glands to release glucose and cortisol which makes you more resistant to insulin. Strenuous activity, like competitive sports, can trigger even more stress hormones, in which case blood glucose usually increases .

In general, we know that different exercises affect us differently. And we also know that we’re all very unique, and the same exercise affects different people differently. Our blood sugar response will also depend on our level of physical fitness and personal exertion. Generally speaking, 30-40 minutes of running brings different results than an hour of cycling, swimming or even boxing. The intensity of the activity is often as important as the duration.

Finally, even though it can be unsettling, we must be persistent! High blood sugar is annoying, especially after exercise. Nevertheless, exercise and activity are very good weapons against your diabetes monster and they work in your favor in the medium to long-term, even if you’re struggling against those BG boosting stress hormones in the short term.

Typically, the post-exercise blood sugar spike settles down and returns to normal after an hour or two, so check again after some time if you’re able to. And the exercise itself pays dividends for much longer than that, so the tradeoff is well worth it.

Good info, Markus! Thanks!

Is It Worth It

Having these doubtful thoughts is not unusual: as JDRF points out, there are many with diabetes who avoid exercise because of a fear of low blood sugar, as a part of diabetes distress.

So, why do it? Youre probably aware that exercise is beneficial. This is especially true for those with diabetes, for various reasons.

First, those with diabetes are at higher risk of cardiovascular problems later in life. Regular exercise keeps the heart and blood vessels quite happy and healthy. Additionally, exercise prevents extra fat from building up around organs which would lead to insulin resistance.

For the short-term, exercise is a good way to burn off stress and release endorphins, keeping your mind happy. This is great since stress and diabetes are not the best companions.

Burning off that stress will also let you sleep better. Read more about diabetes and sleep here.

And those endorphins will help with a generally better mental health, including more self-confidence and better mood. That better mood goes hand in hand with the more everyday energy you get from regular exercise.

That doesnt mean you need to become an athlete to manage your diabetes. Even staying active by gardening or going for walks will help you. And if you have certain strains on your body, try exercises like swimming which dont rely on you to use the weight of your body.

Its really an all-round plus!

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Managing Diabetes Is Important And Knowing How To Do So Will Help: How Does Exercise Affect Blood Sugar Levels

Physical activity or exercise, is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. The primary role of exercise in the diabetes management process, is in helping to keep blood glucose levels in, or close to target range. However, knowing how does exercise affect blood sugar levels, is usually contingent on a number of variables such as the type of exercises performed and duration of the exercise program among others. For these reasons, knowing how does exercise affect blood sugar levels can be different for everyone. ;;As many research studies show, the exercise and blood sugar elevation connection is undeniable. The overreaching benefit of exercise, however, is the ability to diminish the occurrence of the debilitating effects of diabetes. For most people with a diabetic condition, exercise is usually a safe option that is highly recommended as a way to help reduce the risk of complications. Yet, according to Sharon Movsas, RD; a diabetes nutrition specialist at the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City; it is one of the most underused treatments.

Some of the beneficial elements between diabetes and exercise were highlighted in a major clinical research study conducted by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Disorders. The focus in this research was the impact of physical activity on prediabetic and diabetic conditions. The results indicated that:

The Effect Of Exercise On Diabetes

What happens to your blood sugar when you work out?

Exercising is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy, especially if you have diabetes. When done regularly, exercise will help you better control and manage your diabetes, which reduces your chances of developing;long-term complications. This is because when you exercise, your body consumes more oxygen and your muscles use glycogen, triglycerides, and free fatty acids for energy.1For your body to continue functioning properly during heightened bouts of exercise, your blood sugar levels become stable and start to naturally decrease.

After exercising, your blood sugar levels drop and you reap the benefits for hours. At the very basic level, exercising reduces the amount of insulin your body needs to process carbohydrates.3 In this article, well discuss the effect that exercise has on both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

How Does Exercise Affect Insulin?


Another reason you need to check your blood glucose levels prior to exercising is to ensure that you dont go into hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is when your blood sugar becomes dangerously low. Its likely to occur in people that take insulin or an insulin secretagogue, people who skip meals, people who exercise for long periods of time, and people who exercise too strenuously.2

Exercise and Diabetes

Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity

In addition to the impact exercise has on your ability to manage blood glucose levels, there are a number of traditional health benefits. Some of which include:4

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How Exercise Impacts Glucose In The Long Term

There are no two ways about it. Even with the odd glucose spike, exercise is beneficial to your blood sugar levels in the long term. According to the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association, all exercise forms improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.

But why does exercise have such a positive impact on your blood sugar levels? Letâs delve into the science a bit further, shall we?

Does Exercise Cause Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia is also called low blood glucose or low blood sugar. If you manage your diabetes with diet and lifestyle changes alone, you are less likely to develop hypoglycemia. If you take insulin or a secretagogue like sulfonylurea to manage your diabetes, you may need to adjust your insulin dose or carbohydrate intake to prevent hypoglycemia. Keep in mind that hypoglycemia is more likely to happen if you:1

  • Skip meals
  • Exercise for a long time
  • Exercise strenuously
  • Do not eat enough carbs before, during, and after exercise

To help manage your blood glucose, you should always keep some carbohydrates with you when you exercise.

Some people develop low blood glucose 4 to 8 hours after their exercise has ended. To avoid this, eat some carbohydrates that absorb into the bloodstream slowly. Examples include dried fruit, fruit jerky, granola bars, and trail mix.1

If you consistently experience low blood glucose during exercise, talk with your doctor. You may need to change your eating times, your carbohydrate intake, or adjust your medicines.

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Blood Sugar Balancing Act: How Exercise Tips The Scales

Prerequisites Informed consent must be obtained from participants in this experiment . The experimental design must be approved by your fair’s Scientific Review Committee .
Material Availability A blood glucose monitoring system is required to do this science project. See the Materials list for details.
Cost Average
Safety Follow all safety precautions when using the blood glucose monitoring kit and when handling blood, as described in the Procedure. If somebody who has diabetes wants to participate in this science project, review the safety notes at the beginning of the Procedure before starting.

How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar

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

Whether a morning high is caused by the dawn phenomenon or something else, here are a few things you can try to lower your blood sugar levels:

  • Physical activity when you wake up can help bring your glucose level down. Even going for a walk can be helpful.

  • To learn about exercise guidelines and glucose management strategies, click here.

  • Read Adam Browns take on walking ;the most underrated diabetes exercise strategy.

  • Eating a light breakfast can help keep a morning high from increasing even more. Taking your mealtime insulin will help lower your blood sugar.

  • Adam Brown suggests eating a breakfast that is low in carbs, and notes that sometimes mealtime insulin has to be adjusted in the morning. One of his favorite breakfasts is chia pudding, since it has little impact on glucose levels; see what else he eats for breakfast here.

  • Catherine Newman has six popular, low-carb, delicious recipes in The Morning Meal.

  • Intermittent fasting and time-restricted feeding approaches to meal timing can also help people keep morning blood sugar levels in range. Read Justine Szafrans Intermittent Fasting: Stabilizing My Morning Blood Sugars to learn more.

  • For additional ways to navigate mornings, read seven strategies from Adam Brown in A Home Run Breakfast with Diabetes.

  • This article is part of a series on time in range.;

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    Aerobic Endurance And High

    HIT is effective in improving aerobic endurance. In one study six all out SIT sessions over 2 weeks improved the mean cycle endurance time to fatigue while cycling at approximately 80% of pretraining VO2max by 100% . This required a total high-intensity exercise time of only 15 minutes with a total training time commitment of approximately 2.5 hours. In another study, a less intense version of HIT produced a similar improvement in VO2max after 4 weeks of training, as was seen in the more intense SIT group . The less intense HIT required only half the intensity but double the repetitions of the SIT, and may be more practical for the nonathlete.

    Many people do not exercise despite the proven benefit of endurance exercise. An exercise program requiring less time commitment may appeal to some people. The aim of this paper is to review the impact of high-intensity exercise of short duration on blood glucose levels in diabetic and nondiabetic people.

    How Exercise Improves Insulin Health

    Exercise helps manage prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels and improving insulin sensitivity throughout the body. Heres how:

    Taking Up Excess Glucose An immediate benefit of exercise is lowering excessively high blood sugar levels, Dr. Kazlauskaite says. Exercise triggers the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream into the working muscles and organs. This is one reason experts agree that people with elevated blood sugar levels can benefit from walks after meals.

    Building Muscle When it comes to blood sugar management, muscle is consistently underrated. After you eat, 70 to 80 percent of the glucose in your body goes to your muscles, she says. The lower our muscle mass is, the more we hinder our capacity to clear glucose from the bloodstream. On the flip side, the more muscle we maintain throughout the aging process, the more insulin receptors we have and the greater our glucose sink, Occhipinti says.

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    Why Does Exercise Lower Blood Glucose

    Its important to understand how exercise affects someone with type 1 diabetes. Muscles need fuel for energy in order to do their job to run, squat, lift, skate, throw, catch to move. This fuel is stored in the muscle itself, in the bloodstream, and in the liver. When your child exercises, a muscle will first use for energy the fuel it has stored within itself. When this fuel runs out, the muscle relies on glucose from the bloodstream. This leads to the decrease in blood sugar that we usually see with exercise. The longer your child exercises, the more glucose in the blood is used up, and the greater the drop in blood sugar. This is especially true for exercise that is longer in duration and mild to moderate in intensity, such as running or cycling. To detect and treat these lows and ultimately to prevent them, its important to have your child check his blood glucose right before, during, and at the end of the physical activity.

    Additionally, when the body is recovering after exercise the muscles will continue to pull glucose from the blood to replenish their stores. Therefore, blood glucose may continue to drop for several hours after the exercise finished. As a result, delayed and night-time low blood glucose may occur. If your child has had a physically active day, especially if the activity has been quite intense, it may be a good idea to check his blood glucose once during the night.


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