Effects of Exercise on Blood Glucose Levels
If you have been suffering from type I diabetes for quite some time, you could have known by now that your level of blood glucose is lower after a physical activity which is not strange. You would have realized that exercise is the best way to control your blood glucose, but how exercise can manage to lessen your blood sugar as well as the steps you can take to avoid too low the levels of your blood glucose while exercising and after the exercise.
Why do blood glucose levels decrease after exercise?
During exercise, energy comes from the sugar kept in the blood, muscles, and liver, in that order. Glycogen is the sugar kept in the liver and muscles. When you exercise, during the first quarter of an hour, energy comes from sugar stored in the blood and possibly the muscles. In the next quarter of an hour of exercise, energy comes from sugar kept in the liver. After half an hour of exercise, you would have almost finished the stored glycogen from your liver and muscles, and your body may need to use fat for energy.
This implies that all the sugar stored in the body is being used, and when this happens, you levels of sugar are reduced. Many diabetics do not know that 4 – 6 hours, and for some people, as long as 24 hours, are needed to put back in their muscles as well as liver the glycogen which has been used. And that is why blood glucose can still go lower as a result of just that one exercise.
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The steps to take for preventing low blood glucose after exercise
- Test your blood glucose before an activity. Your blood sugar reading ought to be higher than 100 milligrams/deciliter or mg/dL as well as lower than 250 milligrams/deciliter. This means that you are starting the activity with a level of blood sugar which is not probably going to get you to a hypoglycemic state. Supposing your blood glucose level before the activity is lower than 100 milligrams/deciliter, you should not start the activity yet until you have eaten 15 carbohydrates, have a quarter of an hour wait before testing your level of blood sugar again to make sure it is more than 100 milligrams/deciliter before you begin the activity.
- You ought not to exercise when the effectiveness of insulin is at its highest. Exercising then can have you run the risk of a faster lowering of blood glucose. Have exercises away from such peaks in insulin effectiveness.
- Avoid exercising a minimum two hours before sleep in order to be able to evaluate the effect of the exercise on your blood glucose. Exercising just before sleep may possibly bring on nighttime hypoglycemic reactions which can be dangerous. Should your blood glucose go lower than 100 milligrams/deciliter before sleep, you ought to either eat a bigger snack or lessen your insulin dosage so as to reduce the possibility of hypoglycemic reactions while sleeping.
- Do not have a sauna, or some other relaxing warm session after an exercise as the heat could get your heart to keep beating fast and reduce too much the level of your blood sugar.
- You need to test the level of your blood sugar soon after your exercise as well as two to four hours after that. Immediately after the exercise, most type 1 diabetics ought test their blood sugar to make sure that the level is not too low. Since there may be a delayed lowering of the level of your blood sugar, it is wise to test again after two hours. If you find that it has gone lower two hours after the exercise, test again in a couple of hours to see if all the glycogen lost during the exercise has already been put back into your muscles and liver and there is no more reduction in you levels of blood sugar.
- If you intend to have a more strenuous or longer activity, you should much more than your usual snack. For instance, if the activity is going to exceed half an hour, you can eat more by 15 carbohydrates to anticipate for the extra sugar which you will need. No matter what, you must stop whatever activity after half an hour to test and make sure your blood glucose is within a safe range.