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What is the recommended blood sugar before, during, and after exercise?

As a diabetic, we face challenges when it comes to exercising safely.  We have to always be on the lookout  to prevent potentially dangerous blood sugar fluctuations.  I personally have had instances in the past, when I have jumped into a daily workout and did not pay attention to my blood sugar.  As a result, I ended up bottoming out due to lack of preparation.  I cannot express the importance of staying on top of our blood sugars before, during, and after our workouts.

Before starting any exercise program, get your doctor’s OK to exercise.  If you are new to working out and have been sedentary, it is especially important to talk to your doctor about any activities you are contemplating, the best time to exercise, and the potential impact of medications on your blood sugar as you become more active. 

Below are some guidelines from Mayo Clinic relative to our blood sugar level and exercise, measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L).  Make sure to check with your Doctor to confirm these guidelines are right for you.

  • Lower than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L).  Your blood sugar may be too low to exercise safely.  Eat a small snack containing 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates, such as glucose tablets or another high glycemic snack before you begin your workout.
  • 100 to 250 mg/dL (5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L). You should begood to go.  For most people, this is a safe pre-exercise blood sugar range.
  • 250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L) or higher.  This is the caution zone — Your blood sugar may be too high to exercise safely. Before exercising, test your urine for ketones — substances made when your body breaks down fat for energy. The presence of ketones indicates that your body doesn’t have enough insulin to control your blood sugar.
  • If you exercise when you have a high level of ketones, you risk ketoacidosis — a serious complication of diabetes that requires immediate treatment. Instead, take measures to correct the high blood sugar levels and wait to exercise until your ketone test indicates an absence of ketones in your urine.

Exercise is a big part of any diabetes treatment plan.  Make sure you are aware of these complications that you face as a diabetic, and then let’s get the ball rolling and tackle our workouts.

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