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  Diabetes and Exercise

Exercise is an important component of diabetes treatment.   In combination with diet, exercise may help control Type 2 diabetes without the need for medications.

During exercise, muscle cells use the glucose that is already in your bloodstream. This causes blood sugars to go down. Blood sugars can drop both during exercise and 12-24 hours after exercise. Additionally, exercise helps you reduce your risk of developing other diabetes related problems by:

  • Helping you maintain or lower your weight
  • Improves circulation
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Lowers your risk for heart disease
  • Regular exercise also makes some people more sensitive to insulin.

Choose an exercise you enjoy and can make a part of your daily activities. We can help you to develop a personal exercise program if you have special needs. We also recommend that you consult with us or your doctor before starting an exercise program if you have not been involved in regular exercise for some time.

Before you start exercising make sure that you:

  • Have shoes that fit properly
  • Check blood sugar before and after exercise to prevent hypoglycemia.
  • Drink fluids before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
  • Carry a carbohydrate snack with you during exercise.
  • Do not exercise if your blood glucose if greater than 240 mg/dl
  • If you have peripheral neuropathy, it is a good idea to check your feet after exercise.

The harder and longer you exercise, the more effect exercise will have on lowering your blood glucose. If your blood glucose is less than 100-120mg/dl, you may need a small snack 15 to 30 minutes before your exercise to prevent low blood glucose. If your blood glucose is 100-150 mg/dl before you exercise, a small snack after exercise may be needed to prevent low blood glucose.

Goals for Exercise

  • 5-7 days/week
  • At least 30 min/day
  • Get a pedometer to track daily activities and try to get 10,000 steps or more every day!
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