Physical activity to help with glucose level control

Diabetic training

Living with diabetes can be very challenging, but that does not mean that you cannot live a full and meaningful life. I have met many diabetics living with both diabetes type 1 and type 2 that had a full, active life. Many believe that once you are diagnosed with diabetes, that it is automatically a death sentence and that you can no longer live your life to its fullest. But this assumption is wrong.

So the question is; can physical activity help with glucose level control? Yes, but you need to keep an eye on your blood sugar before, during and after exercise. As part of treating your diabetes, exercise is in fact very important. Not only to improve your blood sugar levels, but also to manage your weight, improve your well-being, and also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Tracking your blood sugar levels during exercise is of course crucial, as it poses unique challenges. You need to know how your body responds to exercise, and adjust accordingly. Although a bit expensive, it is advisable to work with a personal trainer who can help track your blood sugar levels and ensure that you are never in danger.

Doctors’ visit

You should always begin by checking with your doctor. They have to give you the go-ahead before you jump into your exercise program. This is especially pertinent if you’ve been inactive. Your doctor will help you to work out an exercise program that will correlate with your blood sugar levels and your medication. Both are very important. Experts recommend that you spend at least 150 minutes a week on moderately intense physical activities such as speed walking, lap swimming, and bicycling. Even for children living with diabetes, 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day is recommended.

Exercise (Physical Activity)

Now that you’ve checked with your doctor, let’s move on to the actual exercise. First off, you have to check your blood sugar approximately 30 minutes before exercising. If your mg/dL is lower than 100 mg, then it may be too low to exercise safely. But an easy way to remedy this is to eat a small snack or take a glucose tablet.

Let us check the blood sugar again. If it is now 100-250 mg/dL, then you are good to go. This is a safe pre-exercise blood sugar level, and the most optimal blood sugar level for exercise.

Then the last blood sugar test before we start exercising. If your mg/dL is 250mg or higher, then you should consider this as a risk factor. If your blood sugar is too high to safely exercise, it might be that your body doesn’t have enough insulin to control your blood sugar due to the presence of ketones. Ketoacidosis is a serious complication that can occur if you have high levels of ketones present during exercise. It needs immediate treatment, and can be life-threatening.

Hematic food is interested not only if can physical activity help with glucose level control but also how food that we consume can affect our glucose level. When you finish with this article you should visit our natural blood thinner post to find how food or drink affects our blood condition.

Getting down to business

Low blood sugar is sometimes a concern during exercise. With a long workout planned, you should check your blood sugar every 30 minutes. This is especially pertinent if you are trying a new activity or if the intensity and duration of your workout changes. Yes, it might be a pain in the nether region, but it is for your own safety.

Within a gym setting this is much easier to manage than with an outdoor activity or sport such as hiking or cycling. If you feel shaky, weak or confused, stop immediately. Check your blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar levels are 70mg/dL or lower, eat or drink something to raise your blood sugar levels. Whatever you eat or drink should contain approximately 15 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates. Once your symptoms have subsided and your blood sugar levels have stabilized, then you may resume your workout.

A very important note that never seems to be discussed is something so simple but possibly life-saving; always wear your medic-band, so that people may know that you are a diabetic and give them the necessary knowledge to help and treat you if you should faint. It could literally save your life. As a side note, always tell your employer that you are diabetic. It is not seen as a disability, but if you faint after running up those stairs for your boss, they need to know why.

Now I’m sweaty

Remember to check your blood sugar levels again when you are done with your workout. But not just once, but several times in the next few hours following the exercise. The reason for this is that exercise uses reserve sugar that is stored in your muscles and liver, and as your body refills these stores, sugar is taken from your blood. Determine how strenuous your exercise was, as this will determine how long your blood sugar will be affected. You can experience low blood sugar up to eight hours after exercise, so eating something with a slower-acting carbohydrate will help prevent a drop in your blood sugar levels.

Is physical activity helping with glucose level control?

On the short term the answer is yes. Your insulin sensitivity is increased, therefore your muscle cells will be able to better use available insulin during and after exercise. But what about the long term effects? Again the answer is yes, if managed properly. Once you understand how exercise affects your blood sugar levels during and after exercise, then you will start seeing how easy it is to control and maintain your blood sugar levels, insulin, and glucose levels. This paired with a proper eating plan will give you the best results, as you and your body start to understand each other. For more information on this topic, visit the link below:

Blood Sugar and Exercise | ADA (

Foot massage

Your workout is done, your blood sugar levels are on point, so now it’s time to rest those weary feet. But will the usual foot spa do the job? No, not in the traditional sense, as the legs and feet of a person living with diabetes is not the same. Many people living with diabetes suffer from diabetic neuropathy, which can include symptoms such as the loss of sense of touch, numbness, and tingling.

Medication, exercise and lifestyle changes already plays a large role in managing your diabetes, but there are most certainly other ways to also further enrich your life. One of these are foot massage therapy, which can reduce stress, increase relaxation, aid in sleep, reduce muscular pain and tension, stimulate blood flow to improve circulation, and lower heart rate and blood pressure. Specifically for diabetics, research has shown that massage therapy can increase serum insulin action significantly, which then decreases the blood glucose levels for diabetes.


Different studies have been done to show the efficacy of foot massages for diabetic patients. From significant improvement in range of motion and foot sensation, to the increase in balance and mobility of patients, to the reduction of pain associated with peripheral neuropathy as well as improved quality of sleep. So which are the best?

Swedish massage, being the most common type of massage, is a popular one. Reflexology is one that needs to be done by a professional reflexologist. The same goes for someone performing deep tissue massage. A popular one is the Thai massage, favoured by spas, but also requiring someone trained to do that type of massage. Finally there is Shiatsu, which works on the same basic principles of reflexology. Now you know what type of massages is out there. Does any of this help you? No.

As a diabetic it is a good idea to put some money aside to buy yourself a proper foot massager for diabetic. The engineers behind these contraptions have designed it to give you all the benefits that you would get from a day at the spa, combined with a Reiki master. Below is a link to a wide range of foot massagers:

Best Foot Massagers for Neuropathy & Diabetic Foot Care in 2021 (

Side effects of foot massager for diabetics

This is something that must be considered and kept in mind. When receiving a massage you have to be aware of the complications you may experience from bleeding disorders, deep vein thrombosis, ulcers, infections and burns. Furthermore a massage can also induce low blood sugar in patients who are on insulin medication. Remember to always avoid directly massaging or putting pressure on your insulin injection site, on any ulcer sites, or around your CGM. It is also wise to perhaps take your massager out for a spin before dropping the big bucks on it. During the massage you can monitor your blood sugar levels and see how the massager affects it. If your blood sugar drops, be sure to have your emergency booster close by. A massage therapy device can be incredible. But, as always, speak to your doctor first.