How Exercise Can Help Your Blood Sugar
The overall goal for living a healthy life with balanced energy and optimal brain function is to keep blood sugar levels stabilized. Not only will this give you physical benefits, but it can also reduce the risk for diabetes. Any time you eat protein or carbs, you experience a rise in blood sugar. Carbs spike levels faster and higher than protein, but protein is still a contributor.
Diet alone can have a major impact on both preventing and treating diabetes, and keeping blood sugar levels in check. But, exercise can add one more line of defense to the mix.
What kind of exercise can help blood sugar?
When you exercise your heart rate increases and there is a shift in your blood sugar level. It can go up or down, depending on your training intensity.
While mild exercises like walking and using the elliptical can be helpful, research also suggests that taking your workout up a notch can offer some major benefits for your heart health — that’s where high intensity interval training, or HIIT, comes in. During HIIT, you alternate between bursts of high intensity and periods of recovery or rest. Types of HIIT workouts include soccer, basketball, CrossFit, boot camp classes, spin, and resistance training.
In a review published in January 2015 in the journal Diabetes Spectrum, researchers found that performing short bursts of exercise (at least 70 percent of maximum aerobic capacity) followed by rest or less-intense movement may be more effective at regulating blood sugar and promoting heart health than moderate or low-intensity workouts.1
If you are newer to exercise do not know where to get started, start slow. Ease your way into HIIT by simplifying picking up a sport, going on a challenging hike, joining a boxing or fitness class, or hiring a personal trainer at your local gym.
Symptoms of low Blood Sugar During Exercise
The term ‘bonking” is synonymous with endurance athletes who experience a dip in blood sugar levels during races and training. It quite simply means that you are low on fuel and need a quick pick-me-up to get into a rhythm. But low blood sugar during exercise can affect anyone.
The main symptoms of this include weakness, dizziness, a heavy feeling in your limbs and a very compromised performance. The easiest and quickest fix is to consume a fast-absorbing form of carbohydrates like fruit, a gel, a sports drink, or some other form of supplement.
Final Words About Blood Sugar and Working Out
According to the Mayo Clinic, 150 minutes per week of physical activity is one of the best ways to keep blood sugar levels stable for diabetes. Examples of this would include brisk walking, swimming, biking and hiking.2
Additionally, you can add High Intensity Interval Training keep blood sugar levels in good standing. Two or three sessions per week is all that it would really take, or as directed by your healthcare professional.
And in both cases, always start off gradually and work your way up as your body acclimates. It should stand to reason that slow and steady progress will always have the most lasting effect.
- Effectiveness and Safety of High-Intensity Interval Training in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes
- Mayo Clinic
- Blog Contributor