Helping you find the best time to exercise, whilst avoiding hypoglycemia
Daily exercise has many phyiscal benefits, as well as the bonus benefits for diabetics. Controlling your blood sugar can be even easier than usual, if you follow a daily exercise program.
So when is the best time to exercise?
Mornings are usually the best times of the day to exercise. Surveys suggest that you are more likely to stick to an exercise program this way. But there is another advantage to exercising at this time.
If you have type 1 diabetes or if you take an insulin injection in the morning, you will be able to reduce your dose by about 80%.
How can I reduce my insulin dose with daily exercise?
It’s to do with respiration. Respiration is the process of breathing and creating energy with glucose (aerobically, not anaerobically – respiring without oxygen).
Our muscles use that energy (and therefore glucose) when we exercise, so we don’t need as much insulin to control our blood sugar levels. So it’s important to reduce the dose by up to 80% to avoid hypoglycemia.
If you normally take an insulin dose, it is important not to miss it (i.e a 100% reduction). Doing so may risk hyperglycemia. Remember, you don’t metabolise glucose during exercise.
The required dose varies from person to person so it is vital to check with your doctor/dietician.
Do I have to exercise in the mornings?
Not at all. Mornings are typically the most convienient for everyone. If that’s not you then pick a time that best suits you. Pick a time that you know you can stick to no matter what. Concistency is just as important as daily exercise.
Don’t change your schedule too much!
If you have to change your schedule/routine by more than 30mins you probably won’t stick to it. Wake up too early and you may feel uncomfortable during the day. Sleep too late and you’ll risk a terrible morning.
It’s all about balance. There’s no need to make drastic changes!
So is it important to get a good night sleep?
Absolutely, it is vital. Sleeping allows your body to recover from your daily activities. Without this recovery time, your body will generally be slower at many things.
Sleep deprivation is far too common and it’s not a diabetics friend. To learn more about sleep deprivation click here. Opens in new window
When should I eat? Before or after exercise?
Aim to eat 60-90 mins before exercise. This is roughly when your blood glucose levels peak.
This will also prevent you from feeling bloated or cramped during exercise.
Exercising straight after eating can do this to you, especially during aerobic exercise.
Remember, EAT! If it’s been a while since your last substantial meal, consider snacking on some fruits, nuts or seeds soon after exercise.
The protien in the seeds should improve the effectiveness of the workout. A seeded or rye bread sandwich with some cheese (also rich in protein) are other alternatives.
Try to eat a low-medium GI meal. Doing so will give you greater control over your blood sugar levels. It will also provide you with the glucose that you will need during the exercise program.
Remember only carbohydrates (simple sugars and complex) have GI values. It is not adviseable to eat fatty foods before exercise (esepceially if it’s a long workout) as they don’t provide as much sustained energy as carbs.