Exercise and Blood Glucose Levels
Exercise is good for you. It’s good for the heart, good for losing weight, makes you feel better (really — it releases endorphins that elevate mood), and it’s good for blood glucose — well, sort of. It is good for blood glucose, but it can be tricky at the same time. So today I’m going to talk about how to deal with blood sugar when you’re exercising so that you can minimize the negative effects and enjoy the positive.
OK, let’s start with some basics. Aerobic exercise, or cardio, is what we call activity that requires “the pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart,” to be delivered to working muscles. A general rule of thumb is that aerobic exercise is achieved when our heart rate and breathing rate rise in a sustainable way (in order to maintain this pumping of oxygenated blood — the heart rate to circulate the blood, the breathing rate to increase the oxygen intake). Anaerobic exercise occurs when the activity is simply too much for the heart rate and breathing to keep up with, causing you to become out of breath, and it includes activities such as sprinting and weightlifting. Here, we’ll be talking about aerobic activities, such as swimming, running, or dancing.
So, what happens with aerobic activity? First, it lowers blood glucose. Why? Because the muscles are working harder and they need energy. The glucose in our blood is energy for our cells. Insulin is the hormone that transfers the glucose from our blood to our cells. So when we Diabetians exercise, we often “go low.” This is because the glucose in our blood is quickly moved into our cells Continue reading