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Have you noticed a glucose spike while working out?

December 13, 2023

You’re monitoring your glucose, carefully planning meals to keep your levels stable. And every time you exercise – you spike. Why does something that should be good for you cause a spike?


The bottom line – exercise is good for you, and you should keep it up. Over time, exercise can improve insulin sensitivity and help manage blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or insulin resistance. And in the meantime, what you’re experiencing can likely be attributed to:


  1. Stress response: Exercise puts stress on the body, and in response to this stress, the body releases hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones trigger the release of glucose from the liver into the bloodstream to provide energy to the muscles during exercise. This can cause a temporary increase in blood glucose levels.


  1. Muscle contraction: During physical activity, muscles contract and use glucose as a primary source of energy. This consumption of glucose by the muscles can lead to an increase in blood glucose levels during and immediately after exercise.


  1. Gluconeogenesis: In some cases, when glycogen stores (the stored form of glucose in muscles and the liver) are depleted during prolonged or intense exercise, the body may initiate gluconeogenesis. Gluconeogenesis is a process in which the body creates new glucose from non-carbohydrate sources, such as amino acids or glycerol. This can contribute to a spike in blood glucose levels.


  1. Counter-regulatory response: Some individuals, particularly those with diabetes, may experience a counter-regulatory response during exercise. In people with type 1 diabetes, for example, there may be a decrease in insulin production during physical activity, leading to higher blood glucose levels. In some cases, people with type 2 diabetes may experience a similar effect due to insulin resistance.

If you have concerns about how exercise affects your glucose levels, it’s essential to consult with your provider who can share personalized guidance based on your specific health condition and exercise routine.