Staying active can be an important part of your daily routine to keep your blood sugar within your target range. When you are active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin so the insulin can work more efficiently. Exercising consistently can help lower blood sugar and improve your A1C.
Exercise doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Activities like walking the dog, cleaning the house, and washing the car can be part of your exercise routine. How you choose to exercise is less important than finding a way to stay active regularly. Just be sure to consult your health care provider before starting an exercise regimen.
For example, you could:
- Lengthen your daily chores, like making several trips to the laundry room instead of one
- Replace a coffee break with going for a walk
- Walk around while on the phone instead of staying seated
- Use the stairs at work instead of the elevator
- Stretch while watching TV instead of lounging
- Park at the far end of a parking lot to get a longer walk
- Rake leaves in the yard or garden
For more support, talk with your health care provider, who can recommend good ways to stay active on a daily basis.
Check in before you start
In addition to helping you make decisions about your exercise routine, your health care provider can talk to you about the diabetes medicines and over-the-counter medications you take. Depending on your level of physical activity, you may need to change from one medicine to another or to adjust the amount you take.
Physical activity and low blood sugar
Sometimes exercise can cause low blood sugar, also called hypoglycemia. It is a good idea to bring a snack or glucose tablets in case your blood sugar gets too low while being active.
Speak to your health care provider about testing your blood sugar to see how the physical activity affected your levels. As always, speak to your health care provider if you’re concerned about low blood sugar.
Learn about the signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia at Cornerstones4Care.com.
Consider working with a diabetes educator
If you need additional support, certified diabetes educators (CDEs) can help you learn the ways of a diabetes-friendly lifestyle.
These educators can be nurses, dieticians, pharmacists, social workers, or other health care providers. They can help you plan ways to fit your diabetes care into your life.
To locate a diabetes educator near you, visit the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) website and use their Find a Diabetes Educator tool.