Physical Activity and Diabetes

Before you decide to exercise or become involved in an activity, you should always check with your healthcare team member to make sure that it is safe for you do so.

Exercising and staying active are important things you can do to stay healthy. Exercise can also play a big part in helping keep your diabetes controlled.

Regular Activity or Exercise Helps To: 

  • Lower blood glucose levels by letting your body use insulin better
  • Control weight
  • Improve your heart health
  • Control cholesterol and fat levels in your blood
  • Make you feel better and be in a better mood
  • Reduce stress
  • Stay in good shape
  • Always check your blood glucose level before the activity to make sure it is at a safe level.
  • Don’t exercise if you have ketones. Follow your guidelines from your diabetes provider for managing ketones.
  • Always have a quick-acting carbohydrate nearby during your activity in case you have low blood glucose. You may also need to eat some fast-acting carbohydrates before you exercise
  • Make sure your coach or another person with you is aware that you have diabetes. They can help if needed.
  • Check your blood glucose every hour during activity to make sure it is still at a safe level.
  • Remember, sometimes your blood glucose level can rise during or after exercise. Do not give yourself a correction bolus if the exercise has occurred within the past hour.
  • Keep your meter and test strips nearby while you are exercising.
  • Wear a medical alert ID bracelet. If you are unable to wear a bracelet during exercise, place a medical alert ID on your shoestring.
  • Be sure to keep yourself hydrated during your activity. Drink plenty of water!

Remember that after exercise some people can have low blood glucose levels many hours later. Check your blood glucose more often during the day and night after you have had exercise or activity.

Last Updated 04/2014