Quality CareFind out why Mayo Clinic is the right place for your health care. Make an appointment.
Meet the StaffFind a directory of doctors and departments at all Mayo Clinic campuses. Visit now.
Research and Clinical TrialsSee how Mayo Clinic research and clinical trials advance the science of medicine and improve patient care. Explore now.
Visit Our SchoolsEducators at Mayo Clinic train tomorrow’s leaders to deliver compassionate, high-value, safe patient care. Choose a degree.
Professional ServicesExplore Mayo Clinic’s many resources and see jobs available for medical professionals. Get updates.
Give to Mayo ClinicHelp set a new world standard in care for people everywhere. Give now.
Subscribe to Housecall
Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics.
Exercise is an important part of any diabetes treatment plan. To avoid potential problems, check your blood sugar before, during and after exercise.
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, boost your overall fitness, and reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
But diabetes and exercise pose unique challenges, too. To exercise safely, it's crucial to track your blood sugar before, during and after physical activity. You'll learn how your body responds to exercise, which can 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. Talk to your doctor about any activities you're contemplating, the best time to exercise and the potential impact of medications on your blood sugar as you become more active.
For the best health benefits, experts recommend at least 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.
Consider these general guidelines relative to your blood sugar level — measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L) or higher. This is a caution zone — Your blood sugar may be too high to exercise safely. Before exercising, test your urine for ketones — substances made when your body breaks down fat for energy. The presence of ketones indicates that your body doesn't have enough insulin to control your blood sugar.
If you exercise when you have a high level of ketones, you risk ketoacidosis — a serious complication of diabetes that needs immediate treatment. Instead, take measures to correct the high blood sugar levels and wait to exercise until your ketone test indicates an absence of ketones in your urine.
Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not for profit mission.
Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic.
A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.