Physical Activity - Type 2 Diabetes
BENEFITS of long-term consistent physical activity:
- improved insulin sensitivity
- decreased risk of heart disease: physical activity lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, aids in weight loss and helps maintain weight.
- decreased blood sugar levels for 24-48 hours
- improved mood and increased energy level
- decreased stress-related fluctuations in blood sugar
- better quality sleep
- lower insulin needs
General guidelines for exercise
- Monitor your blood sugar with the following trial 2-3 times to determine a pattern:
- about 30-60 minutes prior to activity
- immediately before activity
- every 30 minutes during activity
- shortly after activity (5-15 minutes)
- middle of the night (especially after strenuous exercise)
- next 24 hours as usual
- Take less insulin at meal prior to and/or after exercise: when estimating carbohydrates, cut total (in grams) by 30-50%.
- Carry fast-carbohydrates with you (juice, sport drink, glucose tabs)
- Lower pump basal rate or set a temporary basal rate
- Talk to physician or diabetes educator about lowering your long-acting insulin dose
- Drink enough water and fluids
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Replace glycogen with 15g carbohydrate with strenuous exercise
Exercise effects on blood glucose
Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar can occur during, immediately after, or several (up to 24) hours after physical activity/exercise.
Possible causes of hypoglycemia:
- Activity requires more glucose than normal daily activities, so you’re actually burning more glucose.
- Increased circulation: insulin works better and faster while cells take in glucose/sugar more easily.
- HOT weather, hot water, hot saunas: hotter temperatures can increase how fast the insulin is absorbed (increases blood circulation) and cause a low.
- Took too much insulin at prior meal.
- Basal rate or long acting insulin (Lantus, Levemir, NPH) level too high.
- Muscles and liver take back some glucose to store for next time
Hyperglycemia: High blood sugar can occur during or after physical activity due to the liver releasing glucose/sugar into the bloodstream.
Possible causes of hyperglycemia:
- No insulin on board (no insulin present in your body)
- Excitement from the activity
- Anxiety from competition
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) unnoticed or untreated during exercise
- Low-carbohydrate diet