Can Working Out Lower Your Blood Sugar?
There are so many more benefits to working out besides weight loss. Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is one of them. Healthy adults should have relatively low and stable blood sugar. Keeping away undesirable conditions like Pre-diabetes, Type I & Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.
Actually, about 88 million of us American adults already have pre-diabetes; a condition where the body has issues maintaining stable blood sugar levels, most aren't even aware they have the condition. Another 1 out of 10 adults have full-blown diabetes, reports a 2020 CDC report. If you're curious about your bodies ability to process sugar, talk to your doctor about having a fasted glucose test.
Consistently high blood sugar levels and sugar rushes aren’t powering you through your day but break down your body’s ability to fuel itself. So, even if you don’t have diabetes, drowning sugary energy drinks and diets high in carbs leads to headaches, blurred vision, bloating, and lots of bathroom breaks.
While your diet is the sure way to promote healthy blood sugar, exercise is surprisingly another. For about 24 hours after a workout, your body will be more sensitive to insulin and keep those blood sugar levels down.
So today, we’re covering exercises that keep your body operating the way it was intended to, so you can start living!
When you’re exercising your body uses glucose to power muscle contraction. Weight lifting not only fatigues the muscles, giving you that 24 hours of insulin sensitivity, but helps with long-term efforts.
The ability of your muscles to store glucose increases with your strength, making your body better able to regulate its blood sugar levels. Your body's fat-to-muscle ratio decreases, reducing the amount of insulin you need in your body to help store energy in fat cells.”- EveryDayHealth.com
Yes, that was meant to say downhill and not uphill. Dr. Heinz Drexel of the Voralberg Institute, in Austria, completed this study in the Austrian Alps; exciting, but your nearest neighborhood hill works too! Better yet, get a killer workout and walk up and down the stairs.
Drexel explains the science part better than I can: “Walking downhill is good for lowering your blood glucose levels, Walking uphill reduces triglycerides – these are important components of cholesterol. Triglycerides were lowered only by concentric exercise, while glucose tolerance was most improved by eccentric exercise, and both concentric and eccentric improved low-density lipoprotein (LDL) [cholesterol].”
If you want to learn more about Concentric and Eccentric exercise you can read our article, THE BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR SUCCESSFUL STRENGTH TRAINING.
Interval training will spike your blood-glucose levels post-workout. This is confusing because during an intense interval session your body will burn through glucose. But in response to interval training, your body will overproduce glucose during and after your workout to make up for it. After 40-60 minutes of steady-state cardio, compared to workouts like HIIT, your blood sugar levels will be lower than when you started.
To summarize, certified Personal Trainer Christel Oerum says, “When doing interval training, increased glucose production outpaces your increased glucose utilization. When doing steady-state cardio, glucose utilization dominates production. Because of this, your blood sugar may rise during and after high-intensity interval exercise, while it most likely will drop during steady-state cardio.”
So yes! Regular exercise keeps conditions like pre-diabetes and heart conditions at bay, and it lowers your blood sugar.