Exercise and I are good pals.
It’s a vital part of my diabetes management and it helps to keep my blood sugar levels maintained. My motivation to workout is for my health and to prevent future complications.
Exercise can be a crucial component in the diabetes management, whether you’re Type 1 or Type 2.
For Type 2 diabetes, moderate weight loss (~10-15% of body weight) can be a huge team player in effective diabetes management. Even though exercise has tremendous physiological benefits to your body, the combination of nutrition therapy and regular exercise are more effective than either alone in achieving healthy diabetes control.
So why does your blood glucose drop during exercise? Great question!
After regular physical activity, insulin sensitivity improves in skeletal muscle, meaning it’s easier for your muscles to receive the energy it needs because the resistance to insulin is reduced. This reduction in insulin resistance helps to sustain blood glucose levels and eliminates that dreaded roller coaster effect.
Some individuals experience a decrease in glucose levels after mild-to-moderate exercise. The amount of decrease in blood sugar depends on the duration and intensity of exercise.
In addition, exercise increases the oxygen delivery to peripheral tissues, which increases your cardiovascular capacity. These effects can be sustained up to 12-24 hours post-exercise. However, just like with anything, these effects on blood glucose depends on the individual and their responses to exercise. Exercise alone is just one component of management, so medications, insulin therapies, and other lifestyle factors can affect the response of blood glucose.
Exercise includes both endurance and resistance training, but the exercise type should be specific to the individual’s goals and interests. Individuals with complications due to diabetes might be subject to modifications in intensity and type of exercise. However, these complications shouldn’t limit an individual from engaging in regular physical activity.
Remember: there are no limitations, only modifications!