Adjust Text Size:

My blood sugar number is higher after a 2-3 mile walk. Is this normal?

This is a good question, because the “normal” blood sugar response to exercise varies from person to person and isn't easy to predict.

People with type 1 diabetes usually experience an increase in blood sugar after extended walking or other exercise due to higher levels of adrenaline and other hormones that trigger the liver to release sugar, and their bodies can't produce insulin in response.

By contrast, those with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes typically see their blood sugar go down slightly after physical activity. This is because exercise makes muscles more sensitive to insulin, so sugar moves out of the bloodstream and into the muscles more easily. However, sometimes people with type 2 diabetes see an increase in blood sugar following exercise because the surge in adrenaline counteracts the insulin-sensitizing effect of insulin and actually makes muscles more insulin resistant. This usually only lasts for an hour or so after physical activity.

Importantly, those on insulin or insulin-stimulating medications like glipizide or glyburide may see an initial increase in blood sugar, followed by a decrease up to 24 hours later.

Answered By dLife Expert: Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian living in Southern California.

My blood sugar number is higher after a 2-3 mile walk. Is this normal?
4.5 (90%) 2 votes


The content of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material on the site (collectively, “Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for, and dLife does not provide, professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. dLife does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on this site. Reliance on any information provided by dLife, its employees and other contributors or visitors to this site is done solely at your own risk. Any information you submit to dLife or this site may be published on this site and in other dLife products. dLife retains all rights to all contributions including submitted questions and expert answers.

Featured Questions

What kinds of foods should I eat to bring up my potassium level?

Potassium blood levels must be maintained within a very narrow range. Too little potassium or too much potassium can both cause problems.

Read More

Is Weight Watchers a good plan to follow?

Weight Watchers is a weight loss method based on changing eating habits, watching portion sizes of high-calorie foods, and providing peer support.

Read More

Does neuropathy occur only in the extremities?

Neuropathy is damage to nerves that may result from several causes, including elevated blood sugar levels.

Read More

When my mother came home from the nursing home, they said she did not need insulin any longer. Is this possible?

Insulin is often used in hospital and nursing home settings, in accordance with American Diabetes Association guidelines stating that it as the preferred method for achieving and maintaining blood sugar control during hospitalization.

Read More

dLife Emails

Take a dLife Quiz

Test your diabetes knowledge with a fun and informative quiz.

View All Quizzes