Clients with Diabetes Guideline

This guide ensures safe exercise practices, every time…

Check BG Levels

BG stands for blood glucose. A safe blood glucose range to start exercise id between 120-180 mg/dL

Aerobic Exercise – How BG Reacts

Typically, BG levels will begin to lower after 10 minutes of aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, swimming, etc). If BG becomes too low (below 70 mg/dL), hypoglycemia takes effect..

Anaerobic Exercise – How BG Reacts

BG levels begin to rise between 1-5 minutes of anaerobic exercise (weightlifting, 75% effort sprint, 400m run, etc.) If BG becomes too high (above 250 mg/dL), hyperglycemia takes effect.


Know the difference, know the symptoms


Blood glucose levels are BELOW 70mg/dL


  • Shaky
  • Dizzy
  • Weak
  • Hungry
  • Headache
  • Irritable (hangry)
  • Sweaty
  • Blurry Vision (seeing double)
  • Numbness (Tongue or lips)
  • Trouble speaking
  • Not thinking “clearly”

Does this affect exercise?

  • YES!
  • The client will need to stop
  • Can be dangerous to continue exercise without treating “hypo”

Steps to treating Hypoglycemia:

  1. Check blood glucose. Blood glucose < 70mg/dL = hypoglycemia
  2. Consume 15-20 grams of simple carbohydrates
  3. Wait 15 minutes and re-check
  4. If blood glucose < 60 mg/dL, repeat steps 2 and 3
  5. Once blood glucose < 70mg/dL, repeat steps 2 and 3
  6. Once blood glucose > 80 mg/dL, eat a small protein snack to stabilize blood glucose


Blood glucose levels are ABOVE 180mg/dL


  • Extreme thirst (literally cannot stop drinking water)
  • Frequent urination
  • Hungry
  • Headache
  • Drowsy
  • Dry skin
  • Blurry Vision (cannot see across room)
  • Slow-healing of wounds
  • Eyes feel “grainy”

Does this affect exercise?

  • YES!
  • Client may appear lethargic
  • Performance may lack
  • More fatigued than usual
  • Typically, exercise lowers blood glucose

Steps to treating Hyperglycemia:

  1. Check blood glucose. Blood glucose > 240 mg/dL = hyperglycemia. STOP EXERCISE
  2. Check for ketones. If ketones present, STOP EXERCISE. Continuing to exercise can increase ketone levels which is acidic and dangerous
  3. Work with client to lower blood glucose. They may need to inject insulin. Walking is a good way to help lower blood glucose

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