Does Working Out Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

If you’re wondering whether working out can raise your blood sugar levels, you’re not alone. It’s a common question, and the answer isn’t always straightforward. Here’s what you need to know.


Exercise has many supportive health benefits, from improved cardiovascular function to increased mental clarity. But did you know that regular physical activity is an important part of managing blood sugar levels for people living with diabetes? Many factors play a role in how your body processes the food you eat, and exercise can be just as important as diet when it comes to keeping your blood sugar levels stable and healthy.

It’s natural to wonder if doing physical activities can increase your blood sugar levels. The answer, however, is not so straightforward. Exercise affects everyone differently and a variety of factors need to be considered when determining if working out can have an effect on your blood sugar levels. In this article, we’ll explore what the research says about the connection between exercise and diabetes management and provide answers to some common questions about how exercise may lead to changes in blood sugars.

The Effects of Exercise on Blood Sugar Levels

Exercise is an important part of managing diabetes and maintaining good health. But it can also raise blood sugar levels if not done properly. This article will discuss the effects of exercise on blood sugar levels and how to manage them. We will discuss the various types of exercises, how long each should be done for, and how it affects blood sugar levels.

Short-Term Effects

In the short-term, exercise can cause an increase in blood sugar levels. This spike in glucose is typically caused by hormones released during physical activity such as adrenaline and cortisol. In someone with diabetes, the body is unable to make enough insulin or use it efficiently to manage the increased amounts of glucose entering the bloodstream. Without adequate levels of insulin, cells can’t absorb the excess sugar, resulting in a temporary rise in blood sugar levels following exercise.

However, for individuals without diabetes, research has shown that exercising regularly over time may help reduce overall blood sugar levels and promote better glycemic control. Regular physical activity also helps improve insulin sensitivity so that cells are more efficient at taking up glucose from the bloodstream and using it for energy or storing it as glycogen. This reduces circulating glucose levels overall and can help prevent diabetes complications such as cardiovascular problems or nerve damage associated with prolonged periods of high blood sugar.

Long-Term Effects

Exercise is known to have positive long-term effects on blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that regular exercise lowers your risk for developing type 2 diabetes and can help control existing diabetes. It does so by helping your body make better use of insulin and reducing the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Exercise can also help reduce stress, which can lead to low blood sugar levels.

Studies have also shown that exercise helps enhance the production of proteins in the body that promote better blood sugar regulation. The proteins act like “gatekeepers,” allowing cells to take up glucose when needed, while decreasing unattended absorption of glucose in cells throughout the body. The benefits increase over time as well; trials on individuals with diabetes showed an increasingly positive response with more frequent exercise over a six-month period, decreasing overall risk for complications associated with high blood sugars.

Exercise also has more immediate effects on your metabolism and glucose amounts circulating through your bloodstream after a workout. It is important to monitor these effects if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic; the American Diabetes Association recommends testing before (if fasting) and after a workout to ensure safe levels are maintained throughout physical activity. For most people, however, regular exercise will remain beneficial in controlling healthier long-term levels of their blood sugar.

Benefits of Exercise for Blood Sugar Control

Exercise can be one of the most effective ways to manage blood sugar levels, as it can help to reduce inflammation and increase sensitivity to insulin. Exercise can also help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as lower high blood sugar levels in those who already have diabetes. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of exercise for blood sugar control.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity

Exercising regularly has been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity and have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. Since the body’s muscles are larger and more active during physical activity, they require a greater supply of glucose in order to function. Insulin is then released from the pancreas in order to allow glucose to be taken up into the muscles. On its own, this increase in insulin can help lower blood sugar levels since more glucose will be used up by the working muscle cells. However, an additional benefit of exercise is its ability to make muscle cells more responsive to insulin’s action, thereby further increasing glucose uptake into the muscle and reducing blood sugar levels. In other words, after regular exercise your body will require less insulin to register decreases in blood sugar levels, making it easier for diabetics to control their condition without needing as much medication.

Improved Glycemic Control

Exercising regularly can help to improve glycemic control in people with diabetes. Glycemic control, or blood sugar regulation, is essential for individuals living with diabetes to remain healthy and prevent future complications of the disease. Exercise has an especially beneficial impact on glycemic control in individuals who are overweight and/or have insulin resistance.

The benefits of exercise for improved glycemic control are wide-ranging and include:

– Increased glucose transport, which results in increased insulin sensitivity and improved blood sugar levels
– Improved long-term pulmonary and cardiovascular health
– Aging related effects on muscles improve with exercise, leading to further regulation and management of glucose levels
– Increased physical activity causes muscles to take up more glucose from the bloodstream
– Exercise has a positive effect on beta cells, resulting in increased release of insulin into the bloodstream

For those living with diabetes, it is important to exercise safely while maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar. Talk with your healthcare provider to create a safe exercise plan that will be effective at managing your blood glucose levels.

Precautions for People With Diabetes

Working out can have many positive benefits for people with diabetes, but it’s important to take certain precautions. People living with diabetes need to pay particular attention to their blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise. This article will explain the possible effects of exercise on blood sugar levels and discuss the precautions that should be taken when working out with diabetes.

Monitor Blood Sugar Levels

If you have diabetes, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels to ensure that your body is receiving the appropriate amount of glucose. During exercise, the body utilizes stored glucose for energy. Before starting an exercise routine, it is important to test your blood sugar level and/or speak with your doctor to determine the amount of carbohydrates you should consume before working out.

Also, since symptoms of hypoglycemia can be impaired when exercising, we recommend performing a quickblood sugar check prior to and after working out. If your stamina has dropped significantly, fatigue has increased or dizziness persists after ending the workout session, it is recommended that you test your blood sugar level again.

It’s also recommended that people with diabetes start their day with a light meal or snack that provides carbohydrates in order to keep their bodies energized throughout their workout routine. During workouts lasting more than one hour (especially endurance exercises like running or cycling), refueling snacks with carbohydrates should also be consumed at regular intervals in order to prevent low glucose levels and maintain optimal performance.

Avoid Low Blood Sugar Levels

Avoiding low blood sugar levels is important for individuals with diabetes. Blood sugar levels that are too low, known as hypoglycemia, can have serious health consequences. People who either have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes need to take steps to prevent their glucose levels from dropping too low.

One way to avoid hypoglycemia is by maintaining an appropriate diet and taking medications as prescribed. Eating regular meals throughout the day and snacking on high-carbohydrate snacks between meals can help level out blood sugar spikes and dips that may occur during strenuous physical activity. It’s also important to check your glucose levels regularly; a diabetes glucometer will quickly give you a reading of your current blood sugar level so that you can adjust your nutritional or medication management accordingly.

If working out does cause low blood sugars, consider backing off on how intensely you exercise or cut back on how long you’re exercising for until you get more used to the demands it puts on your body and learn how to better manage your glucose levels afterward through food, beverages, medications or insulin injections.. If hypoglycemic symptoms occur while working out such as dizziness, blurred vision or fatigue then it’s important to stop immediately and consume a snack containing carbohydrates such as juice or hard candy before seeking medical attention if necessary.

Eat Before Exercise

When working out, it is important for people with diabetes to eat before exercising to ensure stability of blood sugar levels. Eating a small snack of carbs and protein before exercising can increase the body’s glucose availability and prevent hypoglycemia during exercise. Foods that are low or moderate in carbohydrates should be consumed 15-30 minutes before beginning to exercise and those that are high in carbohydrates should be eaten 30-60 minutes prior to the activity. It is also a good idea to monitor your blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise and have a supply of fast-acting carbohydrates (such as juice or glucose tablets) on hand in the case of low blood sugar. Doing this will ensure that your body has enough energy for the duration of the workout without subjecting it to any detrimental fluctuations in blood sugar levels.


Overall, research indicates that working out is a beneficial and safe activity for individuals living with diabetes, as the potential benefits are likely to outweigh any risks. Physical activity has many positive effects on blood sugar levels, such as helping to reduce HbA1c and improving insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, there is evidence that exercise can also lower cholesterol levels, improve cardiovascular health and reduce body fat percentage.

It is important to discuss an individualized exercise plan with a healthcare provider prior to beginning an activity program in order to ensure safety. For individuals who take medications such as insulin or other diabetic medications, blood sugar monitoring before and after physical activity may be required in order to effectively manage glucose. Finally — the importance of staying hydrated and fueling oneself appropriately prior to physical activity should not be overlooked!

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