While we know that all types of exercise can be helpful when it comes to improving glucose values, did you know that when you workout can also help to ‘hack’ your blood sugar response?
As introduced in Chapter 3 - Section 4, how we time physical activity around food can be an additional tool to help optimize blood sugar values.
Movement After Meals
Since we know movement helps us to ‘use up’ extra glucose, something as simple as going for a walk after a meal can help to mitigate the impact of that meal. You don’t have to walk for miles and miles after a meal to get this benefit either! Most of us will see improvements in our glucose values with even a brisk 10 to 15 minute after meal walk.
The benefits of moving after meals aren’t just limited to walking. Anything that gets you moving can help to keep your postprandial glucose spike in a more manageable range. Things like household chores, gardening, or dancing are all going to make a difference. Even just standing up after a meal can be a powerful regulator of glucose values. If you aren’t able to fit in a walk or any other movement after a meal, consider trying to stand up for around 30 minutes (or less if that feels more appropriate) to reap those benefits.
Workouts Before Higher Carb Intake
As discussed above, it’s clear that working out powerfully regulates our glucose values primarily by clearing out our glycogen stores (to allow glucose to more easily move out of our bloodstream and into our muscles) and enhancing insulin sensitivity. Intense workouts can contribute to these benefits lasting for nearly 24 to 48 hours! Time higher carbohydrate meals around our workouts to take advantage of this and allow yourself some more flexibility with carbs. This can be particularly helpful to offset holiday meals and other celebrations where it’s hard to manage our carb intake. Know that you’re going out to dinner at a restaurant later in the day? Consider squeezing in a high intensity interval training or weightlifting session earlier in the day to keep your glucose values in a desirable range!