How to Exercise with Insulin Resistance


Welcome to Lisanne Wellness Center Education Series, today we are talking about Optimizing Blood Sugar for Weight Loss and Fat Burning, And How to Exercise with Insulin Resistance, PCOS and Pre-Diabetes.

Timing and Testing: How to Exercise with Diabetes

Exercise benefits your body in every manner conceivable. Pre diabetics are often hesitant to exercise because of the drastic fluctuations in blood sugar that may occur during and after exercise.

The key to healthy and safe exercise is testing blood glucose levels. Who should test their blood glucose levels?

  • Test if take glucose- and insulin-lowering medication.
  • Test if you are trying to manage blood glucose without medication.
  • Test if you struggle with drastic fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
  • Test if your blood sugar levels spike between meals.
  • Test if you get hypoglycemia or feel dizzy or faint during physical activity.

Monitor your blood glucose levels before, during, and after exercise if you use a freestyle-type monitor that’s implanted in your arm for two weeks at a time.

Otherwise, use blood glucose test strips and urine ketone test strips to ensure you get the most out of your workout. 

Most exercise benefits pre diabetics. Aerobic exercise is one of the most beneficial exercises as it helps the body utilize available blood glucose, effectively normalizing levels. As most exercises are aerobic in some form, the key is choosing an exercise that you enjoy. The following are some examples of aerobic exercises.

Before you begin any workout, consult your healthcare practitioner. They are trained to advise you on which exercises may be beneficial to you based on your health history, current health condition, and insulin patterns. You may also receive detailed guidelines for when and length of exercise.

When is it Safe to Exercise?

  • Blood glucose lower than 100 mg/dL is too low for exercise. Eat a small snack that provides approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates, such as a half cup (4 oz) of fruit juice or a glucose tablet or gel. Wait 15 minutes and test again. Repeat until glucose levels normalize.
  • Blood glucose between 100 and 250 mg/dL is the sweet spot. This is generally a safe range for working out. If you’re towards the bottom of that range, test again early on in your workout to ensure it hasn’t fallen too low.
  • Blood glucose above 250 mg/dL is too high. Use a ketone test strip to check your urine for ketones. Do not exercise if ketones are present. This might cause diabetic ketoacidosis, which can result in serious organ damage. Wait until blood sugar levels are within a safe range and test again for ketones before starting any workout.

When you are struggling to manage healthy blood glucose and insulin levels, your body may require a little help. Never skip a blood sugar test before working out.

How Long Can I Exercise?

If you monitor your blood sugar levels at regular intervals, you can (in general) exercise for as long as you’d like.

The American Heart Association recommends 10 minutes of exercise 5 to 7 days per week. If you want to exercise for more than 30 minutes, take a short break every 30 minutes to test blood glucose and ensure they are within a safe range.

  • If blood glucose drops below 100 mg/dL, take a glucose tablet, gel, or drink a half-cup (4oz) of fruit juice. 
  • Wait 15 minutes and test again. 
  • Repeat every 15 minutes until blood glucose levels normalize.

Continue with your workout but stop in another 30 minutes to retest. Take measures to normalize blood glucose levels if needed. 

What if I Feel Dizzy When I Exercise?

Exercise helps improve cellular response to the effects of insulin. This can help your body metabolize blood glucose more efficiently, but also means you may experience symptoms of hypoglycemia.

  • Feeling Weak or Faint
  • Blurred Vision
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness

If you experience any of these symptoms stop physical activity immediately and take a glucose tablet or gel to elevate your blood sugar levels. Test as quickly as possible, but not before attempting to normalize your blood glucose levels.

Consume 15 grams of carbohydrates, such as a glucose tablet, gel, or a half cup of fruit juice, every 15 minutes and retest until glucose levels are within a safe range for physical activity.

How to Test After Exercise

Test your blood glucose levels immediately after you finish your workout. This will allow you to determine the benefits you received from engaging in physical activity. Over time, you may be able to predict about how much activity is required to normalize your blood glucose levels.

Longer workout sessions may have a longer-term effect on blood glucose levels, so testing should be continue for a longer period of time.

Test every hour for the following few hours to ensure blood glucose levels do not drop too low. After an exercise, the improved insulin sensitivity may be activated for up to 16 hours after a workout. This is why you need to monitor your blood glucose levels to ensure they do not drop too low.

Workouts are Worth It

Exercise has a positive impact on nearly every cell in the body. Exercise helps with detoxing, energizing, strengthening, and balancing. Physical activity helps relieve stress, enhance happiness, and boost self-confidence.

At first, the frequent testing may seem excessive and make exercise feel like a waste of time. However, through exercising and testing, you may learn more about your metabolism and the demands of your body.

This knowledge may empower you to make liberating choices regarding your physical activity and motivate you on your journey to health and wellness.

If you’re ever in doubt, always check with your healthcare practitioner.

Sources

This content has been fact checked to ensure factually accurate medical information. Please reference our sources listed at the bottom of this article.
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Please note, this blog is not intended to replace your primary healthcare provider, or any healthcare provider, for that matter.

Our articles are based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by our trained editorial staff. Please reference our sources listed at the bottom of this article.
Our team includes licensed nutritionists and dietitians, certified health education specialists, as well as certified strength and conditioning specialists. Our team aims to be not only thorough with its research, but also objective and unbiased.
Please note, this blog is not intended to replace your primary healthcare provider, or any healthcare provider, for that matter.