The Effects of Diabetes During a Workout

Exercise is a great ally to fight this disease and its symptoms, but we must learn about how glucose reacts to physical activity in order to know how diabetes affects us during a workout.
The Effects of Diabetes During a Workout

Last update: 21 October, 2018

Working out regularly is linked to a better health overall, especially when it comes to preventing certain diseases. However, when someone has this particular disease, they must take certain precautions before doing so. They must also know the effects of diabetes during a workout.

General benefits of physical activity

Studies have shown that people who regularly do some sort of physical activity live longer and have a better quality of life. There’s even a global campaign to fight the sedentary lifestyle that causes so many cardiovascular diseases.

A couple working out

In addition to improving glucose control, exercise has a lot of other benefits. It helps to reach a healthy weight by increasing our calorie expenditure; it contributes to maintaining normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels and keeping our blood pressure within the recommended limits.

Daily physical exercise also creates a feeling of wellness, and it contributes to better social integration; the benefits of physical activity also affect the social aspect of a person, not only their health, well-being and weight control.

Diabetes during a workout

A person with diabetes not only can, but should practice some kind of physical activity. If they practiced a sport before the diagnosis, they should keep practicing it regularly.

However, if it’s a high intensity sport, they may have to go through an adaptation period. During this time, they’ll increase their activity gradually.

If the patient with diabetes didn’t perform any type of physical activity before the diagnosis, it would be great for them to start. We’ll focus our training on controlling our blood sugar levels and on reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

Exercise helps to decrease the glucose in our blood in different ways. On one hand, working out increases the sensitivity to insulin; cells take advantage of the available insulin to use glucose during the work out and for hours after that.

On the other hand, the contraction of the muscles during physical activity makes your muscles ‘grab’ glucose. They’ll use that substance as an energy source.

The effect exercise has on reducing glucose levels can last for up to 24 hours after working out; this makes your body more sensitive to insulin.

A diabetic person can control their glucose levels before and after a work out; this way they can evaluate the benefits. It’s also a good way to find the type of exercise that fits their needs the best.

The effects of diabetes during a workout: type one

People who suffer from type one diabetes must be very patient; exercise may not have an immediate effect in the control of the disease. For exercise to have the desired effect, the person must practice it every day.

They should also keep in mind some factors while working out: the time in which they work out, the intensity and for how long they work out. They must also control the glucose levels before the work out and the amount of insulin they used.

Before starting a work out, we should all have healthy habits. A good measure is that the diabetic person injects insulin into the muscles that they won’t use during the training. We can also adapt our work out schedule to our meal times and the effects of the insulin.

On the other hand, it’s best to work out during the same hours every day. You can eat an extra dose of carbohydrates before or during the workout to prevent hypoglycemia.

The effects of diabetes during a workout: type two

When talking about type two diabetes, there are also many benefits of working out. Many studies have shown that physical activity is able to prevent diabetes in high-risk patients. It’s also very effective to control diabetes by helping with weight loss; similarly, it helps to keep blood pressure within normal limits.

Exercise can have a similar effect to the one that medicine used to treat diabetes has. Therefore, it’s an excellent natural remedy.

Woman working out with a medicine ball

The ideal exercises are aerobic ones, since they promote blood circulation and they help you to lose weight. It’s important to work out daily, with the same intensity and for the same amount of time.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.