We all know that exercise is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle -- it helps our heart and bones grow stronger, reduces stress, and helps us stay in shape.
Exercise is also particularly important for people with diabetes.
The ADA recommends 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise each week.
Aerobic exercise, or “cardio”, includes any physical activity that gets your heart pumping, such as jogging or cycling.
How does exercise lower blood glucose?
During exercise, muscle cells first use and break down stored glucose (glycogen) for energy. When all your glycogen is depleted, your cells need to take up more glucose to keep functioning. This is one of the ways exercise can help control blood sugar levels.
Normally, we need insulin to get glucose out out of our blood and into our cells. However, studies have shown that muscle contractions allow glucose transport into cells even in the absence of insulin.
After exercise, your muscles must replenish all that glycogen, so they continue to take up glucose from your bloodstream, even without insulin. This is one reason why insulin sensitivity can be increased for up to 24 hours after a good workout.