Exercise is important for our general health and is an excellent way to help improve mood and decrease stress. Exercising with diabetes can feel more challenging but there are some ways to help make sure your blood glucose is safe during exercise.

Below are a few tips to help manage your diabetes during activity.

  • Before starting to exercise, make sure your blood glucose (BG) levels are in a range your doctor suggests (for ex. 100-180 ng/dL if not on insulin, 150-200 if type 1 diabetes or taking short acting insulin)
  • If your BG is low, you may need to take extra carbohydrates (carbs) before exercising
  • Your diabetes team might also recommend reducing the insulin dose before you exercise to avoid lows
  • If your BG is high, you may need to wait to exercise or drink extra water
  • Check your BG before and after exercising.
  • If exercise lasts longer than 1 hour, test BG during exercise.
  • If you are using an insulin pump – consider using “exercise mode” features –discuss  with your diabetes team when to activate this
  • Always have a source of carbohydrates with you during exercise


Exercise Duration and Intensity


Blood Glucose

<100 ng/dL

100-180 ng/dL


<30 minutes

Low intensity

15 g carbs



30-60 min. at moderate intensity

15-30 g carbs

15 g carbs


A 30-60 min. at high intensity

30 g carbs

15 g carbs


> 60 minutes at moderate intensity

15-30 g carbs per hour of activity


15 g carbs per hour of activity


After 1 hour of activity, eat 15 g carbs



  • Examples of low-intensity exercise: yoga, leisurely walking, or biking
  • Examples of moderate-intensity exercise: vigorous walking, swimming, tennis
  • Examples of high-intensity exercise: running, Spinning, aerobics or kickboxing Examples of long-duration (60+ minutes) moderate-intensity exercise: team sports, golfing, cycling or swimming

For more information, visit https://www.jdrf.org/t1d-resources/living-with-t1d/exercise/exercise-impact/