Diabetes and Exercise: How to Organize Your Workouts for Better Results
If you have diabetes, you probably already know that you need to take precautions during exercise to help protect your feet and maintain stable blood sugar levels. But did you know that the type of workout you pick — along with how you organize that workout — could actually affect your blood sugar levels as well?
The Benefits of Physical Fitness for Type 2 Diabetes
“Exercise is a key diabetes self-management strategy, primarily because it can help reduce insulin resistance and lowers blood sugar levels,” says Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDE, a health, food, and fitness coach in Prescott, Arizona, and a medical reviewer for Everyday Health.
And the way that exercise affects your blood sugar depends on whether that exercise is aerobic or anaerobic, says Christine Mueller, RD, a nutrition specialist at the Adult Diabetes Education Program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Aerobic exercise uses large muscle groups in a repeated fashion for a sustained period of time, according to the Cleveland Clinic, while anaerobic exercise is intense physical activity of short duration. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking or jogging, and weight lifting falls under anaerobic exercise, Mueller explains.
“The reason is that we store glucose — what we use for energy — in our muscles and in our liver,” Mueller says. “And when we start doing a more intense exercise, like anaerobic exercise, the body says that it needs the energy right now, and dumps all the stored glucose in the blood.” That temporarily leads to a higher blood sugar. Meanwhile, low-intensity aerobic a Continue reading