Blood Glucose and Exercise


Brian Dick

Did you know that exercise and physical activity can result in an INCREASE in blood glucose levels?

As a newcomer to understanding the effects of exercise on diabetics’ blood glucose levels, I was surprised to find that exercise in some cases can actually increase an exerciser’s glucose levels. My initial assumption was that exercise

Working out with diabetes
Fitness & Diabetes

would always have a negative impact on glucose levels, as your body called upon the glucose for energy. However, after researching fitness and diabetes on American Diabetes Association’s site (ADA) I found that stress hormones released in high intensity workouts can actually have a boosting effect on blood glucose levels in some cases. This information is particularly important if you have a high glucose blood level prior to engaging in high intensity fitness activities. According to the ADA, if your blood glucose reads high before exercising, it is critical to test your blood and urine for ketones. If ketones are found, vigorous activity should be avoided altogether. For more information about the glucose boosting effects of high intensity workouts, please visit ADA.

As expected, however, physical activities can also have diminishing effects on blood glucose levels — and this scenario is much more likely. The ADA suggests testing your blood prior to engaging in fitness activities. If your blood glucose is less than 100mg/dl, the ADA highly recommends that you eat a small carbohydrate snack prior to working out. A small carbohydrate snack is classified as a snack containing roughly 15 grams of carbohydrates. Carbohydrate content can be quickly found on the back of most packaging or on the affixed nutrition label. However, for produce, or other non-packaged foods, you can also Google Search: “carbs in [your favorite fruit/vegetable].” Interestingly, Google’s top result is their own nutrition calculator where you can modify the size and quantity of the food that you are eating for a more accurate assessment of carb content. Check it out for yourself here.

Scroll to Top