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Article courtesy of Kent Hatchwell, Exercise Physiologist at Beta Health Aus

Exercise can impact your blood glucose in different ways. Some exercise can make your blood glucose drop very fast while other exercises may even make it rise or have very little impact on it at all.

There generally are two types of exercise:

  • A steady state cardio: for example walking or jogging performed over a long period of time. This is where the intensity doesn’t change too much throughout the exercise.
  • Interval exercise: this involves exercise that has varying intensities for example soccer or netball.

During exercise blood glucose can be influence by two factors:

  1. An increase in glucose production- when you exercise your muscles need more glucose to supply energy. The liver then increases the amount of glucose into your bloodstream which can cause an increase in blood glucose levels.
  2. Glucose utilisation – during exercise your muscles use more blood glucose than when you are resting. This is mainly due to the increased supply of glucose from the liver, combined with the increased demand of blood glucose from your working muscles.

Both of these factors are affected by exercise regardless of what exercise you are doing. Having said that, studies have found that when exercise is performed at a higher intensity, eg: interval training or sports such as soccer, there is a higher production of glucose both during and up to two hours after exercise. This is compared to exercise that is performed at a constant intensity, like walking or jogging.

This means that when you exercise at a higher intensity (like interval training) your body is producing glucose as fast as it is using it, compared to walking or jogging where your body is using the blood glucose faster then it can produce it. Therefore, during a walk where you might be exercising anywhere between 40 minutes to 1 hour you can experience lower blood glucose after and during exercise.

If you need assistance with adjusting your insulin to accommodate for exercise, please chat with our Diabetes Educator Annette.