Before you begin an exercises program

In addition to having a physical exam let’s look at some of the things you must be mindful of before you begin any type of fitness program.


Intense exercise can actually cause your blood glucose levels to rise (hyperglycemia). This is true whether you are diabetic or not.  It happens because the body sees exercise as a stressful situation and releases stress hormones that tell it to increase its supply of glucose to energize the muscles.  In a normal body this is a good thing but in someone with diabetes, elevated glucose can be dangerous. If this happens, you will need to have a little more insulin after exercising.

If your blood glucose levels are too high prior to or during physical exertion, you should hold off on exercising.  The general rule of thumb for type 2 diabetics is, if your blood glucose level is above 250 mg/dl (milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood) wait until it is lower before you do any exercise routine especially strenuous activity. This could simply be a matter of the time of day you exercise. Always check your sugar level before, during (if possible) and after any exercise program.


It’s not wise to exercise early in the morning before breakfast since your fasting blood glucose level may be low (hypoglycemia).  Wait an hour to an hour and a half after you have had a well-balanced meal. A good time would be after work when your body has recovered from a nutritious lunch. Your insulin and glucose levels should be stabilized at that time.

If you are a type 1 diabetic and your blood glucose level is 300 mg/dl or over before you start exercising, then it may not be wise to exercise at that time. You must consult with your health care professional and follow their advice carefully.

Kidney issues and Peripheral Neuropathy

If you suffer from kidney problems or are prone to peripheral neuropathy(nerve disease affecting your hands, feet and some internal organs), you must exercise.  Please do this, however, under the strict supervision of your medical advisor. They can tell you if certain exercises such as jogging or rope jumping will harm more than help. They can suggest other activities to substitute for those that might cause harm.


If you have retinopathy (eye disease) let your eye doctor know that you are about to start an exercise program.  This is especially true of strenuous activity or any type of resistance exercise. You should avoid any type of jarring or straining activities such as lifting extremely heavy weights because they can further damage the blood vessels in the eye.

It is important to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia when they occur and what to do for a quick fix. Look for upcoming posts where I’ll discuss these topics. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of consulting with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program. Let caution rule the day.

I will remind you again that you should check your glucose level before, during and after exercising. Normal fasting glucose level is 110 mg/dl (milligram per deciliter of blood) and below.

If your blood glucose level is in the 110 – 126 mg/dl range this is considered pre-diabetes and fasting glucose level above 126 labels you as diabetic.

Also, if your glucose level after eating is 200mg/dl or above then you have diabetes. Your goal now is to set up an exercise program that will help keep your blood glucose level in the normal range.

I am not a dietitian and because of this I am always on the look out for diets that will be helpful to diabetics.  Whenever I find any meaningful dietary information I will pass it on to you.

To a healthier you,

Owen Lecky

Visit us at How to Prevent Diabetes for more information.


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