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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Exercise and You

Activity (exercise) is one of the big factors to help attain good sugar control. Exercise can lower your blood glucose, so it does take a bit of finesse to balance it out to avoid "running out of gas" during your activity. It is ideal to do regular activity five times per week for at least 30 to 60 minutes.

Activity helps you:

  • Burn blood sugar efficiently.
  • Feel healthier.
  • Maintain proper body weight.
  • Keep your heart rate (pulse) and blood pressure in target.
  • Keep your blood fat levels normal.
  • Improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Maintain normal blood circulation.

Planning for exercise

  • Check blood sugars before, during, and after exercise.
  • You may need an extra snack before activity.
  • Have extra snacks available during exercise (read our list of good foods for exercise (PDF)
  • Reduce the insulin dosage, with the help of your diabetes team if you get low with activity.
  • Change the injection site. It is best not to inject your insulin into a body part that is going to be used heavily during activity such as legs if you are running or arms if you are pitching a baseball game.
  • Make sure coaches and teammates are aware of your diabetes.
  • Wear medical identification.

You should NOT exercise if you have ketones present in your blood or urine, or your blood glucose is above 300. This could make your sugars go even higher and worsen the ketones. Call you health care provider for help.

This information is adapted from Understanding Diabetes by Dr. H. Peter Chase.

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