Diabetes exercise benefits guidelines 101: Best time for exercising

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The topic is the best time to exercise with diabetes and this is a very important topic that doesn’t get talked about enough. If you are looking for diabetes exercise benefits guidelines, you have come to the right place.

The biggest problem for most insulin users is the risk of their blood glucose going too low, for up to two days after the exercise. when you exercise your body needs extra energy from blood sugar, also called glucose. When you do something quickly like a sprint to catch the bus, your muscles and liver release glucose for fuel. Exercise usually lowers your levels.

Diabetes exercise benefits and effects on your body

Glucometer on blue background. World Diabetes day

If you take insulin or diabetes meds, a boost in workout intensity or length can mean you’ll have to adjust your snacks, medication or both. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you. 

The big payoff comes when you do moderate exercise for a longer time, like a hike. Your muscles take up much more glucose when you do that.This helps lower your blood sugar levels. If you’re doing intense exercise, your blood sugar levels may rise temporarily after you stop. 

An exercise that’s too hard can raise your blood sugar by making it harder for your muscle cells to use insulin. A workout helps pump you up by causing small tears and muscle fibers. When they heal, your muscles are strong . However if you aren’t used to super tough workouts like high-intensity interval training, they can do so much damage and days can go by before you feel like moving again. During that time, your muscle cells can’t use insulin well and that will boost your blood sugar.

If you’re so sore you can’t make your next gym session you probably need to dial it down. There’s no rush. It’s better to build intensity slowly as you get used to a new routine. You’re more likely to stick with it if you don’t feel like you’ve been through the wringer. Long-term diabetes can affect them. 


Overtime blood sugar starts to build up in a process called glycation. Good control over your disease can help delay, but the longer you have diabetes the more likely it will happen. Glycation can make your joints stiff and brittle. Pounding away with heat or making a lot of fast moves might be risky. One wrong move could lead to an injury. Routines that makes you do the same moves over and over can cause problems. Stiff joints can also take a toll on your balance saying you up for a fall. On the other hand workouts like yoga, We recommend Pilates and Tai Chi are choices. They’ll help you build your:

  • strength
  • balance
  • flexibility.

Which activities to do – Have fun while exercising

Make a list of fun activities .You have lots of options and you don’t have to go to a gym. Think about something you’ve always wanted to try or something you enjoy in the past:

  • Sports
  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Swimming 

These are just a few ideas. Anything that raises your heart rate counts. Adventure sports like rock climbing or scuba diving should be safe if you’re in good health aside from diabetes. Make sure to get the right training. Don’t do these activities alone because you may need help if your blood sugar gets too low. 

Take some fast acting carbs like a sports gel, glucose tablets or even a tube of cake icing with you. Get your doctors OK. Let them know what you want to do. They can make sure you’re ready for it. They will also check to see if you need to change your meals, insulin or diabetes medicines. Your doctor can also let you know if the time of day you exercise matters.

Blood sugar

Check your blood sugar. Ask your doctor if you should check it before exercise. If you plan to work out for more than an hour check your blood sugar levels regularly during your workout so you know if you need a snack. Check your blood sugar after every workout so that you can adjust if needed. However if you ask when is the best time to exercise, it’s tough to get a straight answer. The research is often conflicting. Ultimately, timing should depend on your goals. If your goal is to just get it done in the time of day, won’t matter. But if you have a specific goal the timing might make a difference.

Moreover I want to share an example of a woman having diabetes type 2 with you. About 4 years ago a client from Yale diabetes Center had been working with a personal trainer and basically was frustrated with her lack of progress, so she took a really specific personal questionnaire which identifies individuals diabetes needs, experiences and what their goals are.

In the process this woman shared that she even worked out with a personal trainer for six months and not only had she not lost any weight, but her A1c had actually gotten worse. It had gone from a 6.6 to a 6.9 and she was very very frustrated so when she shared that she’s been going to a personal trainer for six months. She said that she was working out three times a week at 5 o’clock in the morning. As soon as she shared that she was working out at 5 o’clock in the morning, two things popped into my head:

First thing was this, she was a motivated person. I don’t care who you are nobody likes working out at 5 o’clock in the morning and this actually goes to this bogus issue that people think people living with diabetes are lazy. We know the people living with diabetes are not lazy in fact it is the exact opposite. People living with diabetes are too busy! They are are professional people, caretakers,  parents, they’re in school. They are real people that are working hard!

The second thing that pops in my head was maybe this person was experiencing the morning dawn effect. So what did she do. She scheduled to have her blood sugar tested at 5 AM and her blood sugar was like 120, which you guys know in the scheme of things that’s a great number. Afterwards she walked on the treadmill for 20 minutes, nothing crazy, no insanity or any kind of crazy weightlifting routine.

Then she tested blood sugar again and her blood sugar was 240. This poor woman threw her hands up in the air and she said I thought exercise was supposed to help my diabetes.

Why did that happen?

You can imagine this was terribly incredibly frustrating. Is this what usually happens? and she said I don’t know I never test my blood sugar when I’m working out..

To make a long story short this poor woman working out with a bozo personal trainer, who didn’t have the first clue about diabetes. This woman was experiencing some thing called the morning dawn effect.

Morning dawn effect

The morning dawn, effectively is a rise in glucose levels that can be exacerbated by exercise in the morning. The dawn affect happens to many people. It actually happens to a lot of people who don’t have diabetes. The effect is when you go from a resting state to an active state your body will naturally supply glucose.

It will supply you with fuel to perform the activity. For people who don’t have diabetes and their endocrine system is working properly, when that rising glucose levels occurs, then their pancreas secretes insulin and glucose levels come down.

For people with diabetes, that’s not happening! There is some fundamental imbalance in the hormones taking place and if you exercise while you have diabetes any of the morning dawn affect, can actually see a significant rise in your glucose levels.

Like this woman who saw her numbers go from 120 to 240.  in this woman’s case, exercise in the morning was not the right time for her and she changed her exercise time from 5 AM to 6 PM after work.

 in 11 months this woman to her credit, lost 107 pounds, and her A1c went from 6.9 to 5.6!

This resulted in her doctor completely taking her off of all the diabetes medication that she was taking.

Before or after meals 

To improve blood glucose after meals, exercise 30 minutes after the start of the meal. This is because peak after meal glucose values typically occur within 90 minutes and initiating exercise during this time frame will help prevent glucose from rising out of the target. That’s protecting blood vessel walls from the damaging effects of excess glucose. We recommend you to read this article of supplements that help you achieve good results and that benefits diabetics.

This could be as simple as going for a walk right after your meal. For those leisurely meals it take a little longer. make sure to get out for your walk as soon as you finish eating. 

To decrease the risk of low blood glucose, insulin users should wait for at least two hours after a rapid insulin injection for exercise. This is when the insulin action is no longer at its peak. 

The biggest problem most insulin users face is the risk of their blood glucose going to low during exercise and for up to two days afterward. Exercising within two hours after meals increases the risk of low blood glucose even when insulin doses are decreased. 

Morning workouts

For people with type 2 diabetes exercising at home first thing in the morning without eating is not ideal. Exercising at this time for months and an even greater release of glucose raising hormones, which heightens insulin resistance. This leads to an increase in blood glucose and not lowering your blood glucose that is expected during moderate physical activity.

Eating something before morning exercise helps limit the rising glucose. Regarding people with type 1 diabetes, exercise done in the morning like 7 AM before eating. Has a lower risk of late onset hypoglycaemia, compared to late afternoon like 4 PM exercise and it also improves blood glucose control on a subsequent day. 

When considering your metabolism, late morning workouts may have an edge. Morning exercise appears to increase the ability of muscle cells to metabolise sugar and fat and this type of affect will have a benefit on weight and type 2 diabetes.

Afternoon workouts 

For people with type 1 diabetes afternoon exercise at 4 PM after having had lunch at noon, has a higher risk of late onset hypoglycemia than morning exercise. 

For those with type 2 diabetes high intensity interval training done three hours after lunch reduces blood glucose levels.

Evening workout 

For people with type 2 diabetes. Resistance exercise done both before and after dinner reduces after meal blood glucose. However, after dinner on the other hand. Resistance exercise also reduces triglyceride levels which helps to decrease cardiovascular risk. If you are competitive and looking to improve your performance, evening exercise may feel easier because less oxygen is required, making workouts more effective.

Do you dread the thought of setting an early alarm but you are worried about how evening exercise will affect your sleep? 

Easy to moderate exercise before bedtime can actually promote deep sleep. High intensity interval training can be performed in the early evening from 7 PM to 8 PM without subsequent sleep disruptions and may have a positive effect on appetite related hormones. 

Morning exercise increases alertness and helps cognitive function. It also has the advantage that no matter what else happens during the day you have completed your physical activity regimen. If you compare it to evening exercise, which can help you decompress after a busy day and help manage stress. 

If you are not fully committed to an exercise routine and you leave it to the evening, you run the risk of bailing.

The best time to exercise for diabetes type 2

In general the best time to exercise is 1 to 3 hours after eating, which really amplifies the diabetes exercise benefits when your blood sugar level is likely to be higher. If you use insulin, it’s important to test your blood sugar before exercising. If the level before exercise is below 100 mg, eating a piece of fruit or having a small snack will boost it and help you avoid hypoglycaemia. Testing again 30 minutes later will show whether your blood sugar level is stable. It’s also a good idea to check your blood sugar after any particularly gruelling workout or activity. 

If you’re taking insulin, your risk of developing hypoglycaemia may be high 6 to 12 hours after exercise. Experts also caution against exercising if your blood sugar is too high over 250 because exercise can sometimes raise blood sugar even higher.

Because of the dangers associated with diabetes, always wear a medical alert bracelet to keep track on your diabetes and whether you take insulin. Also keep hard candy or glucose tablets with you while exercising in case your blood sugar drops precipitously. 

Still not sure when to exercise? 

Don’t worry ,there is no bad time to exercise. Find a time that you enjoy and work with your diabetes team to develop strategies to keep your blood glucose on target. Rembember diabetes exercise benefits will always help you achieve your goals when it comes to fighting against diabetes!


Those with type 2 diabetes should keep levels at 160 mg/dl in no less than two hours of a dinner. Since practicing diminishes blood glucose fixations, it’s really smart to begin practicing around 30 minutes after the start of a dinner, specialists finished up

By practicing before you eat and taking your supper time insulin, you decrease your gamble of low blood sugars. This can immensely work on your capacity to practice without low blood sugars. This can likewise assist with forestalling the need to eat extra carbs during activity to forestall/oversee low blood sugars.

Assuming that you have fading insulin, an after-supper walk or other exercise can assist with keeping your glucose down for the time being. Be that as it may, use alert while practicing before sleep time. The glucose bringing down impacts of activity can keep going for quite a long time, so in the event that you work out before bed, you risk going low for the time being.

Strolling — Because anybody can do it anyplace, strolling is the most well known practice and strongly suggested for individuals with diabetes. Burning through 30 minutes of lively strolling, multiple times every week is an extraordinary method for expanding your active work

Extremely arduous movement, hard work or stressing and isometric activity. Most moderate movement, for example, strolling, moderate lifting, weight training with light loads and high redundancies, extending.

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