Exercise and Diabetes …with my new toy… :) 5

First thing I should note…“Your mileage may vary!”   Please remember, I am on a very low carb, low inflammatory meal plan… 

Your experience may be different from mine… besides, if you learn one thing from me… it should be to question everything and everyone!!! ….. yes, even me. :)

I have a CGM (continuous glucose meter) and will be reporting my results while I test foods, exercises…  everything I do.   Here’s the Introduction post, “Hey ADA, can’t touch this”  and the tag for this will be “Continuous Glucose Meter”.

If you have not done so, you should read this post, “Primal Exercise and Diabetes“, especially if you are diabetic. Here is a quote from that post,

Intense Cardio – As a general rule intense cardio raises my blood sugar either slightly to significantly during or immediately following the exercise.  I do believe the longer term benefits FAR outweigh the negative affects of an immediate rise.”


Let’s look at my blood sugar results while exercising … shall we. :)

Intense Exercise

Before viewing the chart below let’s discuss the exercises.

Intense Cardio – when I use this phrase I am primarily talking about performing plyometrics. I do a lot of air squats but also mix in many other activities.  This routine lasted about 20 minutes.

Kettlebells – this is VERY intense.  I actually perform maximum 45 lb  kettlebell swings in 15 minutes.  This particular day I set a new “personal record’ of 412.  Here’s a post from that day.

100 Jump Burpees –  Check out this post, “Rekindling Burpee Love” if you are unfamiliar with burpees.  It’s basically an ‘air squat’ and a push up in one exercise.  It is VERY intense when you try to do 100 of them as fast as you can.  My personal record is 8:25 but that was after weeks of training for them.  On this day, I did 100 in 11:25.  So this intense exercise was less than 12 minutes in length but very demanding.

Chart Notes:

1) I ended the data  when my blood sugars went ‘sub 100 mg/dl.  My goal is to stay below 100 mg/dl as much as possible.

2) The cool thing about this?  The blood sugars were essentially the same leading up to the exercises.   The kettlebells and burpees were done around lunch time while the intense cardio was in the evening.

2) Intense Cardio (Plyometrics) is the least ‘intense’ … although you should know that even this exercise is intense.  I try to stay in an anaerobic state.  I was surprised that my blood sugars never exceeded 100 mg/dl. I am really ‘sucking air’ during these workouts and perspiring … profusely. :)

3) While kettlebells and burpees both ‘spiked’ my blood sugars, it was interesting that burpees had the greatest blood sugar affect in this first round of tests.

4) What I found MOST INTERESTING?  I have done other intense exercises in the past and I have had higher blood sugar readings, some in the 130’s … none so far. It is very encouraging to know that I did not exceed 120 mg/dl.


Walking and Blood Sugars

Every diabetic should know … walking reduces blood sugars.   I have started eating high carb meals as part of this test (more on that in a later post).   Below is my blood sugar ‘chart’ following a high carb meal.

You can see when I started my walk… the dip in the blood sugars and … you can see when my walk ended. Due to the ‘carb load’ my blood sugars did continue to rise once the walk was over, eventually dropping as my body processed the sugars.

This is not ‘new news’ … but I thought it was pretty cool to see graphically. :)


Much more to come as I test and report …

I must thank (once again) the person who graciously and generously allowed me to borrow their spare CGM.  They prefer to remain anonymous … but without them, I could not report this information .


5 thoughts on “Exercise and Diabetes …with my new toy… :)

  • Martin Levac

    It’s the first time I see this kind of test. I always thought BG would drop during exercise, not rise. The logic is that as insulin sensitivity rises, cells take in more glucose and BG drops. But based on your tests it seems that BG rises in response to the demand. It makes sense. As the hormones and enzymes that regulate fuel supply are activated by exercise, they tell the liver to produce and release more glucose. This glucose probably comes from glycogen and from the glycerol that is now free as more fat is released from fat cells. If you also had a FFA monitor (if such a device exists), you’d probably see a rise in FFA as well.

    To make sure I understand your tests. You carb-loaded only for the walk but not for the intense exercise, right? I will assume that you ate just before you went out for the walk and that’s why the rise occurred during the walk. I also note that the rise is 20mg/dl higher for the walk than for the intense exercise. There’s a dip at the 2-hour mark for the walk, then another rise. Try another walk but this time don’t carb-load and compare. See if that dip-and-rise still occurs. I suspect it won’t. I also suspect the rise will not by as high.

    How was your perceived energy level? It would be interesting to correlate that with BG, and with carb-load.

    Your BG starts at ~85. You’re not diabetic! Must be something you ate. :)

    • Martin Levac

      As I was re-reading my post, I just thought of the effect of insulin on the liver. As insulin sensitivity rises during exercise, insulin drops, as insulin drops, the liver responds by producing and releasing more glucose. Diabetics type 1 don’t produce any insulin, their BG is sky high without it. That’s more likely it.

    • Steve Cooksey Post author

      Exercise is great for diabetics… intense, anaerobic exercise often does cause an increase in my blood sugars. (as the post demonstrates) But in the long term I believe intense exercise is crucial to my blood sugar control.

  • BlissfulWriter

    Exercise does improve insulin sensitivity in the long term. But in the immediate during the time of the exercise, I believe it is correct that blood sugar would rise. Afterall, the body is trying to supply sugar to the muscle cells.

    This kind of continuous monitor chart is great info. It would be nice to continue the data longer to see when the sugar levels back to baseline.

    • Steve Cooksey Post author

      Bliss, Good idea. I’ll plan on doing that one day. I’ll need to eat breakfast on that day, in both the Kettlebells and the Burpees, I worked out fasted and ate before coming all the way back down. Thanks.