Along with diet and medication (if needed), exercise keeps weight and blood sugar at healthy levels. Here's how it works.
When you eat, normally your pancreas releases insulin as your blood sugar increases -- sort of like the paparazzi revving up when they hear Kim Kardashian is in town. Insulin stimulates the liver and muscles to take in excess glucose, which lowers blood sugar levels.
Exercising requires extra glucose for energy to fuel muscles. Continuous, moderate exercise -- such as that required by the paparazzi as they run to catch Kim -- can cause muscles to take up glucose at nearly 20 times the normal rate. This process lowers blood sugar levels. Even after the chase, the body replenishes the glucose stores (called glycogen) in muscle cells and the liver, which lowers blood sugar levels even more, for hours afterward.
Short, intense bursts of exercise may have the opposite effect, however. For example, if Kim decides to run out the back door and the paparazzi give chase suddenly, it can increase their stress hormone adrenaline. This stimulates the liver to release extra glucose into the bloodstream. This isn't good news for diabetics. Blood sugar can also be a problem if it's too high to start (usually over 250 mg/dL), indicating low insulin activity. When this occurs, your doctor may recommend taking in a bit of extra insulin after such intense exercise.
Paparazzi or not, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) recommends the following if you have type 2 diabetes.
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