Image for diabetes and exercise If you have diabetes, exercise can help keep blood sugar under control and promote good health. But there are precautions you should know about. While exercise is beneficial because it can lower your blood sugar level, it can also be dangerous for the same reason. Exercise can lead to hypoglycemia—a quick drop in blood sugar.

Living with type 1 diabetes requires a balance of eating, exercising, and insulin usage to keep blood sugar levels within a desirable range. People without diabetes rarely give blood sugar a thought. This is because the pancreas automatically produces insulin to move sugar out of the bloodstream and into body cells for use. Insulin production is naturally matched with the amount of sugar in the blood to keep levels stable.

But, your body does not produce insulin if you have type 1 diabetes. You must take over as the regulator of blood sugar. This is an important job, as both high and low blood sugar levels can have serious health consequences.

In type 2 diabetes, your body produces insulin, but your body either cannot use it properly or does not make enough. People who manage type 2 diabetes with meal planning and exercise usually do not have problems with hypoglycemia. But if you use insulin injections or take some types of oral medications, you may be at risk for exercise-induced hypoglycemia.