Blood Sugar Dangers: Do This Before You Work Out
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 nerve damage.
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.
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Before you exercise…
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.
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The best exercises…
For the best health benefits, experts recommend 150 minutes a week of moderately intense physical activities such as:
• Fast walking
• Lap swimming
During exercise: Watch for symptoms of low blood sugar
During exercise, low blood sugar is sometimes a concern. If you’re planning a long workout, check your blood sugar every 30 minutes — especially if you’re trying a new activity or increasing the intensity or duration of your workout.
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This may be difficult if you’re participating in outdoor activities or sports. However, this precaution is necessary until you know how your blood sugar responds to changes in your exercise habits.
If you’re taking insulin or medications that can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), test your blood sugar 30 minutes before exercising and again immediately before exercising. This will help you determine if your blood sugar level is stable, rising or falling and if it’s safe to exercise.
The guidelines you need to keep in mind…
Consider these general guidelines relative to your blood sugar level — measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
• Lower than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L). Your blood sugar may be too low to exercise safely. Eat a small carbohydrate-containing snack, such as fruit or crackers, before you begin your workout.
100 to 250 mg/dL (5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L). You’re good to go. For most people, this is a…