Better Manage Your Diabetes with Physical Activity and Maintaining A Healthy Weight

August 2015

Physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can help you manage your diabetes and prevent diabetes complications. Physical activity helps your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, stay in your target range. It also helps the hormone insulin absorb glucose into all your body’s cells, including your muscles, for energy.

Muscles use glucose better than fat does. Building and using muscle through physical activity can help prevent high blood glucose. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or if the insulin doesn’t work the way it should, the body’s cells don’t use glucose. Your blood glucose levels then get too high.

Starting a physical-activity program can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and keep your blood glucose levels on target. Even without reaching your healthiest weight, just a 10 or 15 pound weight loss makes a difference in reducing the risk of diabetes complications.

Always talk with your healthcare team before you start a new exercise program. Your team will give you a target range for your blood glucose levels. People with diabetes who take insulin or certain diabetes medicines are more likely to have low blood glucose, also called hypoglycemia. Physical activity can make hypoglycemia more likely or worse in people who take insulin or certain diabetes medicines, so planning ahead is key. Check your blood sugar both before and after exercise. The effects can last for several hours after exercise.

It’s important to stay active, especially if you have diabetes. Ask your healthcare team how to do it safely.

Source: National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

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