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From Ohio, USA:

I am an adult female, 45 years old, 5'7", 130 pounds, and am a Type 2 diabetic (recently diagnosed). I am controlling with diet and exercise currently. I would like to reduce the spikes in my after meal sugar levels. When is the best time to exercise to reduce post-meal glucose levels? I currently exercise around 7:30 - 8:30 P.M. I eat dinner at 5-6 P.M. and evening snack at 9-10 P.M. Would shorter exercising time more frequently during the day work better than one 25-30 minutes?


Maintenance of as near-normal blood glucose levels is possible by balancing food intake with insulin (either endogenous or exogenous) or oral glucose- lowering medication and physical activity.

Timing of eating is important. People who do not need insulin for there diabetes divide their total consumption of calories into 3 meals and snacks. Spreading out the intake of the calories into consistently timed feedings may make it easier for the pancreas to release insulin.

Consistency in timing and in food quantities is the best way to achieve good diabetes control. This is where a nutritionist can really be of help. They can help you determine the number of calories needed each day and the proper ratio of carbohydrate, protein, fat and having divided then up among meals and snacks the nutritionist then outlines the number of calories from each food list for each meal. This automatically helps keep calories and nutrient intake consistent while allowing variety. A meal plan is designed with your lifestyle and dietary preferences in mind and also helps establish consistency and nutritional balance.

Exercise can help control blood glucose levels because it helps the body use insulin more efficiently and helps increase storage of glucose in your liver and muscles. The combination of exercise and diet produces a greater increase in insulin sensitivity then diet alone.

If you manage your diabetes by diet alone, you won't need to eat extra food before, during or after exercise except when exercise is exceptional vigorous and long. If that is the case, extra food may be just as beneficial to you as it is to the individual who does not have diabetes. Since your pancreas is still producing some insulin, exercise does not require the same food adjustment as it does for someone whose pancreas does not produce insulin. You'll probably find out that your blood glucose values do not fluctuate widely, that hypoglycemia (low blood glucose is not as much of a concern, and that you won/t need to eat extra food. However, self monitoring before and after exercise can help motivate you to stick with your exercise routine. It will show you how effective exercise is in lowering your blood glucose level.

Insulin plays an important role in allowing glucose to enter the cells in your body so it can be used for energy. Exercise can help make your body more receptive to insulin. As you tissues become more sensitive to the insulin your body makes, more glucose can move into the cells. This reduces the amount of glucose left circulating in the blood. You want to avoid high blood glucose levels, because over time elevated or high blood glucose levels can lead to diabetes complications.

Exercising late in the evening can help or be of benefit to the individual with Type 2 diabetes who tend to have elevated morning blood glucose levels.


Original posting 15 May 1998
Posted to Exercise and Sports


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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