Exercise and activity are wonderful ways to help regulate your blood sugar levels as you age. According to the American Diabetes Association exercise can lower your blood glucose for up to 24 hours or more after your workout by making your body more sensitive to insulin. This occurs because your muscle cells use the glucose for energy for your workout. This means if your body does not naturally produce enough insulin to regulate glucose levels, your muscles can do it for you by utilizing the glucose for energy. If you are taking any medications to regulate your blood sugar levels it is very important to check your levels before, during, and after an exercise to prevent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). If you are feeling light headed or shaky during or after activity, it is important to check your levels! Here are 3 tips to assist you in a safe and successful workout!


1.    Before Exercise

Blood sugar levels prior to exercise:

·         100mg/dL or lower you should consider eating a small snack prior to activity.

·         100-250mg/dL is considered safe.

·         250mg/dL is a caution zone and your levels might be too high for exercise.

Reference: www.mayoclinic.org 


2.    During Exercise

If you do start feeling shaky or light-headed during exercise it is important to let someone know, sit down, and have a fast-acting carbohydrate of 15g. Like the following:

·         6oz juice

·         1pc candy

·         6oz soda


3.    Post Exercise

It would also be beneficial to have a longer lasting carbohydrate source (complex carbohydrate) and protein after you are done with your workout. Because the more strenuous the activity the longer your blood sugars will be affected.  Try these:

·         Trail mix

·         Crackers (6) with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

·         RX/Luna/Lara Bar


It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine to make sure the amount of medication is still adequate for your needs. Working closely with a registered dietitian and trainer will also help in the safety of your workout.



Amanda Garant

Registered Dietitian

Motion 4 Life Fitness


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