What Should My Blood Glucose Goals Be Around Physical Activity?

Blood glucose goals around physical activity are to avoid hypoglycemia both during and after activity, and return to target blood glucose levels following activity.

Hypoglycemia is plasma glucose levels at 80 mg/dl or below or 90 mg/dl if symptoms are present. Your personal target blood glucose levels should be discussed with your doctor. In general, it's a good idea to talk with your doctor about what type of physical activity and how much would be safe and effective for you.

Planning for an exercise program should take into account four things:

1 - Type of activity

2 - Intensity

3 - Duration

4 - Frequency

To get the maximum benefit from the type of activity it generally requires that you expend 5 to 7 times as much energy as you do when resting.

The intensity of physical activity is determined by monitoring heart rate and other signs of stress. The easiest way to monitor heart rate is by placing the fingers on the artery of your inner wrist and measuring the pulse rate for 10 seconds and then multiplying by 6, which gives the heart rate per minute. This should be done within 5 seconds of stopping activity. The new exerciser should monitor his or her pulse rate 4 or 5 times during an activity session. If you are on a medication or have neuropathy that effects heart rate, then you must be more cautious, since your pulse rate may underestimate the actual stress on your body.

The duration and frequency of activity depends upon age, the time you can spare, and your level of fitness. In general, three to five activity sessions per week of 15 to 30 minutes each, reaching 60% to 90% of maximal heart rate, would be the minimum to achieve health and fitness benefits. Obviously, most people should start slowly and increase intensity and duration gradually. Walking three times per week can be beneficial to almost everyone.

Find more information about physical activity and diabetes in Staying Healthy with Diabetes – Physical Activity & Fitness available from the Joslin Online Store.