Primal Exercise & Diabetes

Primal Living has given me many benefits, no doubt about it. The meal plan has reduced inflammation which has helped me immensely in successfully treating my diabetes.

This post will discuss my experience with exercise and diabetes.


Yesterday 3/14/11, I woke up and my blood sugar test read an 83 … which is about as close to normal as you can get. Most reports you find say that 83 to 85 mg/dl is normal for NON-Diabetics…. that’s my goal EVERY single day.   You can read my post and actually see a video of me reading my blood sugar (click here).

I performed an intermittent fast yesterday morning so my blood sugar at workout time should have been very close to 83 mg/dl.

My exercise was Jumping Jacks….. those are simple and easy … right?   Well, I try to do as much as possible intensely…. and virtually ANY exercise can be turned into an intense exercise if you do them with enough intensity.

How do I make Jumping Jacks intense? … I do as many as possible in 15 minutes.  I can’t remember  how many I did when I initially began doing these, but I do remember being in the 700 range for several attempts before I REALLY pushed myself.

Prior to yesterday, 927 was the most I had done in 15 mins, but today I did 935.

To do that… you have to perform Jumping Jacks intensely… doing them quickly and anaerobically. Performing exercises anaerobically (without oxygen) is so important to improve cardio vascular system and to reduce blood sugar, in my opinion.

Note: With doctor approval, start out seeing how many jumping jacks you can do comfortably in 15 minutes … then once a week, try to improve upon that number.  That’s what I’ve been doing for months…. and I urge you to do the same.

It doesn’t have to be Jumping Jacks… like I said, almost any exercise can be turned into an intense workout. I urge you to visit this page, “Primal Fitness” and watch all the videos. They are all scalable to any fitness level….  DO IT!

REMEMBER: … each day you can MAKE EXCUSES … or MAKE CHANGES!!!

Post Exercise Blood Sugar – 30 minutes (left) and 60 minutes (right)



Exercise and Blood Sugar Affect

What about exercise and it’s affect on blood sugar?  In the picture above you can see the blood sugar readings I had 30 minutes and then 60 minutes post exercise… remember I had an 83mg/dl earlier that morning.  The exercise caused an approximate 30+ point increase … that’s no small increase.

Long Term I don’t think there is any disagreement, exercise including walking/aerobics, weight resistance and intense cardio all will work to help you maintain Blood Sugar CONTROL. Diabetic or not… EVERYONE should be exercising most days a week and we ALL should be exercising intensely 2-3 times a week.

Short Term

  • Slow Cardio – As a general rule and my experience backs this up …. slow cardio (walking, jogging, aerobics) reduces blood sugar levels. I’ve walked and even jogged for 10 miles and my blood sugar was either reduced (if elevated when I began)  or remained the same (if normal when I began)
  • Intense Cardio – As a general rule intense cardio raises my blood sugar either slightly to significantly during/immediately following the exercise.  I do believe the longer term benefits FAR outweigh the negative affects of an immediate rise.  WHY?

    • Typically I’ll see a slight raising of blood sugar but some times a 30+ point increase. This does NOT concern me because I’m starting out in normal ranges.  If I’m at 85mg/dl and my blood sugar rises to 115mg/dl for a brief period… that’s not an issue.  However if my Blood Sugar was 130mg/dl prior to exercise… I would be concerned about a 30 point increase.
    • Secondly, I do believe I’m more insulin resistant in the morning. I can’t prove it but it does seem to be true… therefore I rarely do workout intensely in the early morning hours.
    • Third, I can’t prove this either… but I am CONVINCED that intense exercise combined with a low carb, low inflammation, primal meal plan has helped me reduce not only my post meal blood glucose readings … but my overnight fasting as well.


NOTE:  As with ALL THINGS … your experience may vary.  I urge you all to begin exercising but test your blood sugar to see what causes your’s to increase and plan accordingly.


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2 thoughts on “Primal Exercise & Diabetes”

  1. I get similar results after exercise as well. My theory on the increase after intense exercise is that my body goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode. Epinephrine (adrenaline) is released into my system, causing the liver to step-up glycogen break down and liberate glucose into my blood. Just MY theory.
    I’m also more insulin resistant in the morning. My waking blood glucose varies between 85 & 105. Two hours later I’m consistantly in the 115 range (regardless of whether I’m fasting or if I ate). By 10:00am I’m back in the sub 100 range. After ~4:00pm I drop into the daily zone, between 85 & 70.

    1. Excellent points Brian. I was planning on doing a Part II to go into more detail, discussing cortisol etc. Dr. B discusses briefly in his book as well.

      If you would like to address… feel free.

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