Happy Tuesday Everyone!
In continuing our diabetes education theme for the month- lets talk about the impact of exercise on diabetes and more specifically on blood sugar levels.
First up, what are the potential benefits of exercise (this is not a conclusive list as there are truly SO many benefits):
- Lowers blood glucose levels
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves blood flow
- Burns calories and helps build muscle to help with weight management (with just 5-10% weight loss one can expect to see improvements in diabetes management specifically in terms of insulin sensitivity)
- Improves mood
- Can prevent falls and improve memory in older adults
- Can help you sleep better
Here is how exercise aids in blood sugar control:
- Insulin sensitivity is increased, so your muscle cells are better able to use any available insulin to take up glucose during and after activity. Remember insulin helps to get blood sugar into the cells to be utilized for energy.
- When your muscles contract during activity, your cells are able to take up glucose and use it for energy whether insulin is available or not.
This is how exercise can help lower blood sugar in the short term. And when you are active on a regular basis, it can also lower your A1C (which is a test that indicates your average blood sugars over a period of time).
The effect physical activity has on your blood sugar will vary depending on how long you are active and many other factors.
Did you know physical activity can lower your blood sugar up to 24 hours or more after your workout by making your body more sensitive to insulin? Incredible!
It is vital that you learn how your blood sugar responds to exercise so check your blood sugar level more often before and after exercise can help you see the benefits of activity. You can also use the results of your blood sugar checks to see how your body reacts to different activities.
Understanding these patterns can help you prevent your blood sugar from going too high or too low. Be aware that if you are on insulin, you will need to check in with your doctor and dietitian to help prevent your blood sugar from getting too low during physical activity.
Physical activity is an important part of managing your blood glucose level and staying healthy overall. Remember it may take a few weeks of physical activity before you see changes in your health.
It is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix 😉 Lets GET active and STAY active!