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Exercise is an important part of any diabetes treatment plan. To avoid potential problems, check your blood sugar before, during and after exercise.
Subscribe to our Controlling Your Diabetes e-newsletter to stay up to date on diabetes topics.
Diabetes and exercise go hand in hand, at least when it comes to managing your diabetes. Exercise can help you improve your blood sugar control, as well as boost your overall fitness and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
But diabetes and exercise pose unique challenges, too. Remember to track your blood sugar before, during and after exercise. Your records will reveal how your body responds to exercise — and help you prevent potentially dangerous blood sugar fluctuations.
Before jumping into a fitness program, get your doctor's OK to exercise — especially if you've been inactive. Discuss with your doctor which activities you're contemplating and the best time to exercise, as well as the potential impact of medications on your blood sugar as you become more active.
For the best health benefits, experts recommend 150 minutes a week of moderately intense physical activities such as:
If you're taking insulin or medications that can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), test your blood sugar 30 minutes before exercising and approximately every 30 minutes during exercise. This will help you determine if your blood sugar level is stable, rising or falling and if it's safe to keep exercising.
Consider these general guidelines relative to your blood sugar level — measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
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