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August 2019

Get Moving to Control Your Blood Sugar

Whether you want to prevent diabetes or manage it better, it’s best to keep active. In fact, physical inactivity is linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Two people in exercise clothing stretching on a park bench

Fortunately, an inactive lifestyle can be reversed. By going from inactive to active, people can control¾and prevent¾type 2 diabetes. Brisk walking, biking, and other moderate exercise can lower your blood sugar levels. Regular exercise also improves the way your body breaks down carbohydrates and uses insulin.    

How much exercise is enough?

Aim for at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity activity each week. You can break this up into as many smaller sessions as needed. For example, you could do 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

Be sure to pace yourself. If you’re new to exercise, a 5- or 10-minute walk may be enough to start. Then, gradually add on minutes and increase the intensity.

Strategies for a safe workout

People with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes need to be diligent about blood sugar monitoring before and after exercise. Low blood sugar can happen, even 24 hours after a workout.

If your blood sugar is too low before exercise, eat a high carbohydrate snack, such as raisins or fruit juice.

Here are some other tips from experts:

  • Warm up by doing the activity at a slow pace. Afterward, cool down with a slow activity, such as easy walking, followed by stretching.

  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Continue to drink water throughout the day.

  • Wear comfortable athletic shoes and socks. Check your feet for blisters and sores after your workout.

  • Don’t forget your diabetes identification tag.

Before you start an exercise program, though, talk with your doctor. He or she can fill you in on any other precautions that you may need to take.

 

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Williams, Robert, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2019
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.