Blood sugar ranges before and after exercise

Before exercise  

Blood sugar ranges can vary from person to person. So, before starting your fitness program, talk with your doctor about what kind of fitness program you should follow and what its impact is on blood sugar levels. Doctors can also tell what time is best to work out and how it affects your medication (and blood sugar levels) as you become more active.  

To get the best health results, experts suggest performing 150 minutes (about 2 and a half hours) a week of moderately intense workouts which include bicycling, lap swimming, and fast walking. And if children are diagnosed with diabetes, they should perform at least 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every day.  

Keep in mind, if you take insulin or other medication before a workout that can lead to low blood sugar levels, so you need to test your blood sugar 15 to 30 minutes before your workout. In case you don’t take medications for your diabetes, then you may not need to take any precautions before exercising, but you should discuss it with your doctor.  

Here are some general guidelines you can follow before exercise to manage your blood sugar levels:  

  • Lower than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL): If your blood sugar is too low to exercise safely then you should eat a snack that contains 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates such as fruit, crackers, or even some glucose tablets before your workout.  
  • 100 to 250 mg/dL: Your blood sugar levels are just in the right range for a workout. This is the safe pre-workout blood sugar range for most people.  
  • 250 mg/dL or higher: This is a dangerous zone for your blood sugar level which needs to be lowered to exercise safely. Before workouts, check your urine ketones (a substance only produced when your body starts breaking body fat for energy). The presence of ketones in your urine indicates your body is producing less insulin to manage your blood sugar level. And if you work out with ketoacidosis in your blood then you may increase the risk of ketoacidosis – a serious condition of diabetes that requires immediate treatment. So, instead of exercising, you should take preventative measures to reduce high blood levels, wait until the ketone disappears from your urine in the ketone test, and then work out.  

During exercise 

During your workout, you need to watch out for the symptoms of low blood sugar especially, if you’re planning for a long workout, you need to check your blood sugar every 15 to 30 minutes particularly when you add a new exercise to your regime or increase the intensity or duration of your workout. This helps you to know if your blood sugar level is stable, rising or falling, or safe for other exercise sets.  

Checking your blood sugar levels every half an hour can be difficult if you’re participating in outdoor activities or sports. But you have to take caution until you learn how your blood sugar responds to changes in your physical activity habits.  

In case your blood sugar is 70 mg/dL or lower, or you feel symptoms like weakness, confusion, or shakiness, then stop exercising because your blood sugar levels are exceptionally low. Eat or drink something that raises your blood sugar level such as:  

  • Glucose tablets or gel, make sure you check their label (to see how many grams of carbs it contains).  
  • ½ cup of fruit or regular soft drink.  
  • Hard candy, candy corn, or jellybeans (make sure to check the label to confirm how many grams of carbohydrates it has).  

After eating some snacks, make sure you check your blood sugar level 15 minutes later, if it’s still low, eat another snack of 15 grams of carbohydrate serving and test it again 15 minutes later. 

Repeat this process until your blood sugar level reaches at least 70 mg/dL. If you haven’t finished your workout, you can continue when your blood sugar levels return to a safe range.  

After exercise 

After completing your workout, you should check your blood sugar level as soon as possible and again several times over the next few hours. It is necessary because your muscles and liver store some reserve sugar in them so that your body can rebuild damaged muscles, it takes sugar from your blood.  

The more intense workout you do, the longer it impacts your sugar level. Low blood sugar levels are even possible for 4 to 8 hours after exercise. So, you should consume a snack with slow-acting carbohydrates such as trail mix or granola after your workout to avoid low blood sugar levels. If you already have low blood sugar levels after exercise, then you should eat a small-carbohydrate snack or drink to get your blood sugar levels to the safe range.  

Exercise is beneficial for everybody, but if you have diabetes, you may need to test your blood sugar level before, during, and after exercise to get the benefits of exercise while managing your diabetes.  

If you need advice from a diabetologist for diabetes medication? If you need help with diabetes diagnosis, visit our clinic at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11212. Our doctors can check your symptoms and tests will be done in our hospital. So that, it becomes easy for you that you don’t have to go to other labs for testing. After the condition is diagnosed in your test, our doctors will create a treatment plan to make you better or to help you manage your condition easily. Call us on +1-347-384-5690.