by: Juan Rodriguez
Why is exercise important for decreasing sugar levels?
Exercise plays a big role in decreasing sugar levels, thanks to our GLUT4 receptors. These GLUT4 receptors are activated through the contraction of muscles and allow for insulin to bind with these receptors and allow for the uptake of sugar (glucose) into the muscle. This sugar molecule is then used as energy for the body.
In other words, if we move around and stay active, we will be able to utilize sugar for energy!
Should we take insulin medication before or after exercise?
When taking insulin medications, people sometimes wonder if it is safe to take them before or after an exercise. The answer is mainly going to be after the exercise or a decreased dosage before the exercise bout. If you don't already know, insulin is used to regulate the blood sugar, and allows for our body to take in sugar to use it for energy (all in short). As I mentioned above, we have these GLUT4 transporters that will activate during exercise and allow for our bodies to naturally take in sugar without the help of insulin. The risk of taking insulin before an exercise could result in hypoglycemia, meaning that you will have low blood sugar levels.
All in short, insulin should be monitored closely when exercising to prevent hypoglycemia and to maintain normal blood sugar level during and after our exercise!
Should we be active before or after our meals?
There are many studies that talk about whether or not it is more beneficial to exercise before or after our meals. Although the answer is not set in stone, one thing is for certain, we will have energy to carry us through the exercise in a fasted and non-fasted state. When exercising on an empty stomach, our body will use our stored energy called glycogen as energy, as well as fat. There are studies that talk about how exercising at a fasted state will promote weight loss, since we are using more fat as energy in this state. On the other hand, exercising after a meal makes sense that you will have more energy to carry you through the exercise routine, but this is also not certain. There are some studies that found no difference in exercise performance during a fasted state or fed state.
So, where does this end? Although there are no certainties, depending on your exercise routine it is your personal preference on whether or not you would like to eat before an exercise or not, you will benefit from the exercise regardless.
Julie is the program director and head personal trainer at Ageless Fitness. She focuses on wellness and health education with her clients and encourages the process of creating programs to be individual and informative.