Summer Exercise and Diabetes Guide

By: Kyle Snowden
Pharmacy Student

heart guy

Regular activity is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for people living with diabetes.


Benefits of Exercise

-Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol

-Lowers your risk for heart disease and stroke

-Helps lower your A1c


How Often Should You Exercise?

-The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends aerobic exercise (or exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing) for a total of 150 minutes per week and strength training 2-3 days per week.

Blood Sugar and Exercise

To exercise our bodies need energy. We use the glucose in our blood to fuel our muscles, which is why exercise helps control blood sugar. However, sometimes people experience low blood sugar during exercise and it’s important to keep 15-20g of carbohydrates around in case you start to notice your blood sugar dropping. This can include things like a sports drink, a few hard candies, or glucose tabs.

Types of Aerobic Exercise

– Brisk walk

– Biking

-Swimming or water aerobics



Types of Strength Training

– Weight machines or free weights

– Resistance bands

-Exercises that use your own body weight: pushups, sit ups, squats or lunges

100-Calorie Exercises

The following examples are easy ways you can burn 100 calories in 30 minutes or less!

10 minutes: jump ropes, swim laps, play a short game of tennis/racquetball

15 minutes: lift weights, tread water

20 minutes: rake leaves, wash the car, a bike ride

30 minutes: take the dog for a walk, push your child in a stroller, go ballroom dancing

Beat the Heat!

-Try to avoid exercising during peak sun hours (10am – 3pm).

-Exercise in the morning or evening to avoid the midday heat, or you could exercise indoors, at a local gym or walking around the mall.

-Swimming is another way to keep cool and get a good workout.

-Avoid dark colors, as they will attract more sun.

hydrate guy

Stay Hydrated!

-Exercising in hot weather puts extra stress on your body and makes it more difficult to keep cool. Make sure that you drink plenty of water to help stay hydrated.

How Much Should I Drink?

-When you exercise, be sure to drink more water to help compensate for fluid loss. You should drink about 14-20oz more water when you exercise

-If you do intense exercise (e.g. running) you should consider drinking a sports drink that will replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat.

Enjoy the Rays, But Not Too Much

-If you choose to exercise outside you should protect your skin as much as possible.

-Be sure to use sunscreen with and SPF of at least 30 and apply it 30 minutes before exercising and reapply as needed.

-Make sure your sunscreen has protection from both UVA and UVB rays or is a “broad spectrum” sunscreen

-Try to wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes

Heat Exhaustion

-This occurs when your body temperature is higher than normal.

-Signs of heat exhaustion are: nausea, vomiting, headache, weakness, or cool skin.

-If you notice any of these stop exercising and allow your body to cool down

-If heat exhaustion is left untreated it can lead to heatstroke.


-This is a life-threatening emergency condition when your body temperature is too high (over 104oF).

-Signs of heatstroke include: dry or hot skin (no sweating), confusion, unconsciousness, or a rapid and weak pulse.

– If you notice any of these signs dial 911, cool yourself off as quickly as possible and drink cold water.

Heat and Your Medication

-Hot weather can also affect your diabetes medications, specifically insulin.

-Opened insulins should not exceed 86oF and Lantus should not exceed 77oF.

-If you need to have your insulin with you on the go, try storing it in a cool place

-Store it in a cooler or an insulated case (like some lunchboxes) with a freeze pack, or use a cooling wallet.

-Cooling wallets are reusable and are sold by many diabetes supply companies.


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