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Basic Knowledge

Diabetes and Exercise

By in Basic Knowledge

Every child should exercise at least 60 minutes a day, including children with diabetes.  While exercise is great for daily overall health, research has shown that it can improve overall diabetes management.  Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, which means it helps your body use insulin more efficiently.

Your glucose levels during and after exercise will depend on several things:

  • Your glucose level before exercise.
  • The intensity and duration of the exercise you are doing.
  • The amount of insulin you take.

Before Exercise 

Check glucose levels every hour or as needed. If it’s greater than 250, correct for the high and check for ketones. If you have moderate or large ketones, do not exercise.  If your glucose level is less than 80 before exercise, treat the low and then wait until it has increased above 80 to begin exercising.

During Exercise

Check your glucose level every 30 minutes.  A continuous glucose monitor, or CGM, can be a helpful tool to monitor glucose levels during exercise.

After Exercise

Check your glucose level.  Remember that exercise can cause lows many hours later and often overnight.

Everyone is different. Once you figure out how your body reacts to exercise, you’ll be able to better predict the steps you’ll need to take to enjoy your workouts and stay safe.


Reviewed by Angelina Bernier, MD, 3/6/19

This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.


Exercise and Competitive Sports

Treating Hypoglycemia – Lows

Low Carb Snack Ideas

Beverage Options

Wearing a Medical Alert


Exercise – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Exercise and Type 1 – American Diabetes Association

Ketones and Exercise – What You Need to Know — Insulin Nation