If you are suffering from diabetes, there are a few methods that you can use to manage your blood sugar levels and help to keep them in check. One of these is through exercise, but how best to do this?
You won’t be able to throw yourself into an exercise in the same manner as you would if you did not have diabetes. There will be a few things that you’ll need to bear in mind if you are looking to keep your health in check.
But how best to monitor your blood if you are exercising? What things will you need to look out for when it comes to blood sugar spikes?
What is the reason for monitoring these levels so closely? Well, if you need important information on diabetes and exercise, then you’ve come to the right place!
When Is The Best Time To Check Your Blood Sugar Levels?
We would usually recommend that you check your bloods before, during and after exercise. This is to check to see how exactly exercise affects your blood sugar.
If you are noticing a massive spike in your blood sugar after you have done exercise, then this will be an indication that you have been affected negatively by your exercise routine.
This also means that you might have to amend your exercise, making sure that it is not that rigorous.
You might have to also change your diet so you can be sure that you’ll have enough energy to regulate your blood sugar levels through the exercise.
Should You Check With Your Doctor Before Exercising?
If you are suffering from diabetes, then we would certainly recommend that you consult with your doctor beforehand. This should go doubly if you are going from a period of prolonged activity to a period of intense exercise.
This is because exertion could act as a real shock to the body and result in your suffering from a spike in blood sugar which can cause severe fatigue and, in severe cases, shock.
A medical professional will also know the particulars of your conditions, including how much medication you take, as well as how this medication will affect your planned exercise routine.
We would recommend that before consulting with your doctor, write down a list of all the exercises that you plan on doing. This way your doctor will be able to advise you a lot more accurately.
How Many Exercises You Should Undertake In A Week?
Generally, it is recommended that you have at least 150 minutes of exercise per week for optimum fitness. These activities should start as being relatively low stress, things such as walking, lap swimming and bicycling.
Experts in the diabetes field even suggest that small children should partake in exercise at least 60 minutes out of every week. This will help them manage their stress levels, as well as their weight and blood sugar levels.
If you are someone that is hypoglycemic, then you will experience low blood sugar levels. If this is the case, then we would recommend that you test your blood sugar roughly 15 – 30 minutes before you exercise.
When Can You Not Test Your Blood Sugar Levels?
If you are not taking any serious medications for your diabetes, then you probably won’t have to monitor your blood sugar, as this will generally not interfere with your exercise.
However, even if this is the case, we would recommend that you always check with your doctor before exercising.
You also might not have to check your blood sugar levels if you are already on an exercise plan and you have not noticed any significant changes.
Once again, if you are thinking of changing your exercise routine, then you should monitor your blood sugar levels for the first few times.
What Are The Official Guidelines For Your Blood Sugar Levels?
If you are measuring your blood sugar levels beforehand, you should consult the following guidelines:
- If your blood sugar is lower than 100mg – this might be too low for you to exercise safely. If you are going to embark on an exercise regime, then we would recommend eating around 15 – 30 grams of carbs around one hour before you exercise. Juice, fruit and crackers are great forms of light carb snacks. You can also take glucose tablets.
- If your blood sugar is 100 – 250mg – this is quite a safe level for your blood sugar levels. You probably won’t have to eat any carbs beforehand.
- If your blood sugar is higher than 250mg – this might be too high for you to exercise with complete safety. You’ll need to test your ketone levels through urine analysis. Ketones are the things in your body that break down fat for energy. If you have ketones in your body, then this means that your blood sugar levels are low.
If you are suffering from high ketones, then you might go into ketoacidosis, which is a complication of diabetes and will require you to get urgent medical attention.
You should always make sure to regulate your blood sugar levels before you start exercising. A good way to do this is by making sure you eat plenty of carbohydrates at least one hour before exercise.
One of the best ways to test for ketone levels is by ketone strips. If you test your urine with these strips, then it should be able to give you an accurate indication of your ketone levels.
What Are The Signs Of Low Blood Sugar?
One of the signs will be feeling shaky or confused and weak. This might be a sign that you will have to test your blood sugar levels.
You might also be experiencing these symptoms after you have exercised. This is because the body will draw on your blood sugar reserves, taking them from the muscle and the liver.
We hope that this guide has helped you to understand the relationship between exercise and diabetes a lot better and what precautions you should take when you are thinking of starting a new exercise plan.