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Diabetes and Exercise: What You Need To Know

Woman Checking Progress on Smart Watch after Outdoor Training

Exercise can be a great tool for staving off diabetes; it can improve blood sugar, keep off weight and make you more fit. For many, exercise is another weapon against diabetes, but it is also more complicated for someone with diabetes. Here we’ll go over the basics of exercise while dieting, so you can feel confident in your workouts.

Talking With Your Doctor

Before starting on any workout routine, you need to talk to your doctor about what you plan to do. If you normally do not exercise, jumping into a new workout plan may have some unintended adverse effects. Your doctor can give you advice on what exercises you should try, and will tell you how it may interact with your medicine and blood sugar levels. 

Safe Blood Sugar Levels

For a diabetic, any workout should begin with checking your blood sugar level. For diabetics that don’t take any medications or insulin, regular exercise will pose no threat normally. If you take medications or insulin, always check your blood sugar levels at least 15 minutes before a workout. Below is a rough guide for blood sugar before a workout:

  • <100 mg/dL – For most people, this blood sugar level is too low. Make sure to eat a snack with carbs to get your blood sugar up, then check again before working out,
  • 100 mg/dL to 250 mg/dL – This is usually a safe range for blood sugar for most people, but be sure to ask your doctor what your individual safe range is.
  • >250 mg/dL – Blood sugar levels above 250 mg/dL are generally too high, and can lead to complications. Drink water, eat more fiber and cut back on carbs to lower your blood sugar. 

Just to reiterate, this only represents the average ranges for diabetics. Your doctor will know your safe ranges, which is why you should talk to your doctor before starting a workout regimen. If you feel weak or shaky during exercise, stop right away and check your blood sugar. After a workout, you should also be checking your blood sugar levels. 

Which Exercises Should You Try?

Aerobic exercise is a great way to break a sweat and burn fat as a diabetic. Jogging, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), swimming, and biking are all examples of fat-burning exercises. Weight training is also a good option but should be done with caution. It is most important to simply exercise regularly and safely; your body will thank you

If you have problems with or questions about diabetes, the Diabetes and Endocrinology Specialists of El Paso can help. We are the foremost diabetes experts in the city and can help you fight diabetes. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!


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