With a new year in full swing, it’s a good time to think about a fitness plan. You probably already know that exercise is good for your overall health, but did you know that it can also help you control your diabetes? Take this quiz to see how much you know about physical activity and diabetes management.
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1. How does exercise affect your blood glucose (sugar) level and insulin sensitivity?
A. It can raise glucose but lower insulin sensitivity.
B. It can raise both glucose and insulin sensitivity.
C. It can lower glucose but raise insulin sensitivity.
D. It lowers both glucose and insulin sensitivity.
3. Which of the following should you consider before a workout when you have diabetes?
A. You should first talk to your doctor about suitable physical activities.
B. You should check your blood glucose level before a workout.
C. You should make sure to have plenty of water to drink during your workout.
D. All of the above.
4. What is the recommended amount of exercise if you have diabetes?
A. At least 200 minutes of activity per week.
B. At least 30 minutes of activity five days a week.
C. At least 10 to 20 minutes of activity twice a week.
D. At least 90 minutes of activity per week.
1. C. Physical activity can reduce your blood glucose levels and help your body use insulin more effectively. In order to help your muscles work during exercise, your cells take up glucose for energy, and this lowers the amount of glucose in the blood. This effect occurs even if you don’t make enough insulin. Furthermore, while exercising, your body’s ability to respond to insulin is increased. This combined effect on glucose can last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after a workout.
2. True. Not only does exercise reduce glucose levels in the blood in the short term, but it also contributes to lower HbA1c levels in the long term. (The HbA1c test measures your average level of blood glucose over the previous two to three months.) According to a 2016 study published in the journal Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome, both aerobic (cardio) training and resistance (strength) training lower HbA1c levels and estimated average glucose levels over time in people with type 2 diabetes.
3. D. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends several exercise considerations for people with diabetes. First, visit your doctor for approval of your fitness plan. Your provider will be able to make sure you are choosing activities that will not worsen any diabetes-related conditions. Second, it is critical to check your blood glucose level before exercising to help avoid any harmful fluctuations, particularly if you are taking insulin or medications in the sulfonylurea or meglitinide drug classes. According to Mayo Clinic guidelines, a safe pre-exercise blood glucose range is 100 to 250 mg/dl. It is also important to check your blood glucose levels during and after exercise to ensure you are within a good range. Finally, stay hydrated before and during exercise, since even mild dehydration can impact your glucose levels.
4. B. According to the CDC and the American Diabetes Association (ADA), it is best to get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week. This 150 minutes can be broken up into about 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, or 20 to 25 minutes of exercise seven days a week. Examples include brisk walking, swimming, water aerobics or jogging. The ADA also recommends including two to three resistance exercise activities each week, such as lifting weights or doing pushups. Flexibility training, such as yoga, is also important to include in your routine. And remember this — any amount of physical activity is better than none.
Want to learn more about exercising with diabetes? Read “Add Movement to Your Life,” “Picking the Right Activity to Meet Your Fitness Goals” and “Seven Ways to Have Fun Exercising.”