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Make Safe Exercise a Priority

Exercise Precautions for People With Diabetes

For people with diabetes, checking blood sugar levels before exercise is the most essential step in an exercise routine. Lower blood sugar may occur as quickly as two days after beginning a new exercise plan, especially if you exercise vigorously. This is one of the benefits of exercise. During the first three weeks of a new exercise routine, it is recommended that you monitor blood glucose more frequently than normal.

Keep a log of glucose levels and share the changes with your health care team. Changes to a diabetes care plan may be needed to accommodate the exercise, such as taking fewer pills or adjusting the insulin dosage. Only make changes to your medications and other diabetes care after consulting your health care team.

Everyone benefits from regular physical activity, including people with diabetes. Benefits include:

  1. Weight loss or maintenance
  2. Blood sugar control
  3. Increased energy
  4. Reduced stress
  5. Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer

Check with a health care professional before beginning, or making significant changes to, an exercise program. To ensure that a diabetes logbook will provide the physician with enough information, record:

  1. Blood sugar levels
  2. Insulin doses and times
  3. Blood-glucose-lowering medications and dosage times
  4. Types and amounts of food and the times they were eaten
  5. Times of stress

All of these factors give the health care team a complete picture of how food and/or diabetes medications affect blood sugar levels. Learn what certain blood sugar levels mean before, during, or after exercise.

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