How Exercise Affects Your A1C Levels

How Exercise Affects Your A1C Levels

When blood sugar is consistently too high, you need a way to bring it down to healthier levels. One way to do this safely and lower your A1C without increasing medication (or even getting starting on it!) is to exercise. In order for exercise to work, it needs to be regular.

It Will Take Time to Lower Your A1C

Your A1C levels are an indication of what your blood sugar levels, on average, have been over the last two to three months. The sugar in your blood sticks to the red blood cells and makes a “glycosylated hemoglobin” molecule. This is measured to give you the A1C test results.

Because the A1C test is actually measuring an average of blood sugar over a three-month period, it will take some time to lower your blood sugar levels very much. Regular exercise is the key. A study performed in Canada discovered that healthy exercise over a 26-week period was able to reduce A1C levels by about 0.6 percent.

Ongoing Exercise May Save Your Life

Any reduction in your A1C levels is a good thing. Studies have indicated that for every point you lower your A1C, if it is above 7.0, can greatly increase your health and reduce potentially fatal risks. For instance, just by lowering your A1C levels by one point, you will reduce your risk of:

  • Kidney disease by 50%
  • Death from cardiovascular events by 57%
  • Nerve disease by 60%
  • Eye disease by 76%

What Exercise Does to Reduce A1C Levels

Exercise provides your body with a number of advantages when it comes to controlling your A1C and diabetes. The first thing it does is to make your insulin more effective at enabling cells to absorb the sugar in your bloodstream. Depending on how much you exercise, this effect can continue for up to 24 hours.

Another benefit of exercise is that it enables your muscles to absorb sugar from your blood using a different process than insulin. In fact, this method is completely independent of insulin.

Watch the Effect of Exercise on Your Sugar Levels

Exercise can affect your blood sugar levels rather quickly. If you have hypoglycemia, you need to be ready to deal with it. You should check your blood sugar levels prior to exercise, during the exercise, and afterwards. If blood sugar levels should get below 100 mg/dL, steps should be taken quickly to raise it.

By watching your blood sugar levels change before and after exercise, and for several hours afterward, you can learn how long exercise will affect your blood sugar levels. The harder you work out, the longer your blood sugar will be affected. This means you may need to be ready to eat something sweet to avoid having your sugar levels become too low.

Because of the potentially quick ability of exercise to lower blood sugar levels, this can alter your A1C faster than almost anything else – if you keep at it. For even better A1C test results and better diabetes control, eat healthy along with a steady program of brisk exercise of at least 150 minutes per week, but more is better.