Exercising Caution When You Have Diabetes
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 escort 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, with type 1 diabetes your body does not produce insulin. So 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 medicines, you may be at risk for exercise-induced hypoglycemia.
Last reviewedMay 2012by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.