If you exercise on an empty stomach, you may eat more than usual after exercise. For instance, if you exercise after work but before dinner, and you haven’t eaten since lunch, by the time you finish exercising, you may not have eaten for 5 or 6 hours. When you’re famished after a workout, it’s very easy to eat more than you intend to at dinner, which can cause the calories to add up. To help control hunger, try having a snack 4&–60 minutes before exercise if it’s been more than 3–4 hours since you last ate. Half a bagel, 8 ounces of sugar-free yogurt, an energy bar, or a banana are some suggestions for a light pre-exercise snack.
For people who take insulin or oral medicines that lower blood glucose level, exercising without a pre-exercise snack can cause hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose. Developing low blood sugar during a workout can make exercise very frustrating, and if it happens on a regular basis, the extra calories you need to treat the hypoglycemia can add up. If you’re unhappy about always having to eat before or during exercise to prevent or treat low blood sugar, speak to your doctor or diabetes educator about lowering your insulin doses on days you exercise. After all, if you’re trying to maintain weight loss, what’s the point of exercising if you have to eat every time you work out? To read more about managing blood glucose during exercise, see the article “The Great Blood Glucose Balancing Act” on the Diabetes Self-Management Web site.
The truth about exercise
So there you have some crucial facts about exercise. In today’s world, where information is the name of the game, it’s easy to lose track of the simplicity of movement. Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated: Pick an activity that you like and that gets your heart thumping a little (remember, the key is to feel warm and slightly out of breath), then do it daily or on most days, and ignore all the hype. If you do this, you have a great shot at good health and physical fitness.