Exercise or Insulin to drop BG?

T1’s we all know the “rules”. An insulin “balancing act”.

How many folks use exercise as your PREFERRED method to drop sugar versus using insulin to do it? Anybody use exercise as their “first line of defense” habitually?

Always wanted to ask this one…

I wish exercise was my preferred method, sadly I use insulin. On the positive side I have cut down my carb intake by 60-80 grams per day which has resulted in 12-15 units less per day.

As far as exercise goes I have been working a lot harder in using the Temp Basal feature so that I don’t need to eat as much or at all when I go cycling. This is always a mixed bag.


I often use exercise in conjunction with lower insulin doses to manage my bgls via John Walsh’s “Ex-Carbs”. I manage my blg’s this way when I’m not at work - days off and evenings.

I use primarily exercise, as I am T2. If I get high BG readings, I slip out of the office and do a very brisk walk to get BG down. My A1C has been pretty good, so I am pretty much trying to micromanage BG to stave off the day when the A1C’s might not be so good.

I recently started managing my BG by timing my eating, insulin and exercise. On mornings that I exercise I eat breakfast first and either don’t bolus at all or take a very small amount of insulin. I have found that taking 1/4 (sometimes even less) of what would normally cover my breakfast carbs will give me an in range reading after a 45 minute brisk walk. If I am doing more vigorous exercise (jogging or spinning) I won’t bolus at all and use temp basal. I also try to take a 20 minute after dinner walk. My BG readings indicate that this has given me better control, but I have not had an A1C to confirm that this is really helping.

I will be high, then pissed and hit the bolus button so fast, then get pissed again, because I think 20 minute walk would of brought me down way faster than any bolus, so my answer is…I usually do insulin and get pissed off when I think, ya dummy you should of walked and got the exercise benefit and no carbing up to exercise as well.

Ahhhh, 20 min walk will drop me 50 points.

I have found that If I walk 4 times a week my BG’s run level most of the time I use temp basal to try to keep from crashing. When I first got my pump I started walking and walked every night for 9 mo. missing very few I have fell into the habit of bolusing and not walking and my BG’s seme to be running higher. Also when I walk in the evening I don’t eat as much when I don’t every time I turn around I am in the kitchen eating then I have to use a dualwave bolus to fight all t he fat. Also found if I write every thing down when I eat I don’t eat as much also. Thanks for the discustion made me take a look at what I was doing.

Hey Andy,

I walk and/or bike ride 4 times a week as well, but have to carb up and lower my basal as I drop so easily with any movement.

My bolusing a high is usually when I just don’t feel like walking, but like I said exercising will bring me down way quicker than insulin, and that exercise is such a better medicine than insulin.

Thanks for the feedback.


exercise can be very highly effective but if your blood sugar is already high, like over 240, it isn’t recommended to exercise, but like I always say, what works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next person. If you’re sugar is already high you probably will feel sorta sluggish and not too energetic. You can’t replace insulin.

It would great if exercising was the first option but I too will bolus first and then think about a walk. I have a hard time when I get a high BS, give a correction and check an hour later only to find that my BS has gone even higher. Then the decision-do I give another correction, walk or change infusion sets. It gets even tougher when I’m hungry or that piece of birthday cake is calling me:)!

I have experienced all of the above, I guess I was talking of a 180ish bgs to use exercise instead of insulin.

Dang on that bday cake!! :wink: