AskNadia: Why Is My Blood Sugar High After Playing Hockey

Dear Nadia,

My fasting blood sugar is 120.  After 30 minutes of playing hockey, it rises to 250. I am 52 years old. Should I continue playing hockey or not? Which exercise should I do to reduce my blood sugar level?


Dear Surinder

Only 39% of people with diabetes exercise. Congratulations on being part of the minority. Being active for 150 minutes a week is commonly recommended by healthcare professionals. Moderate exercise like walking and bicycling for two and a half hours a week is doable. Assuming you do not have any medical restrictions.

Research does show that high-intensity sports can raise your blood sugar.  This will occur if the sport you are participating in exceeds your heart rate capacity. Commonly referred to as the VO2 max; your peak or maximum oxygen consumed while playing hockey could put you in the 80% or greater zone. Difficulty breathing, unable to speak while exercising might be signs that you are at your VO2 max level.

Exercising at the VO2 max stresses your body. The glucose released from your liver in response to the stress hormones can be higher than what you require; giving you a higher blood sugar.

Depending on whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, exercise will impact your blood sugars differently.

Type 1 Diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes that exercise needs to be concerned with hypoglycemia, low blood sugar during and after exercise. The length of time and type of exercise requires consideration before starting a workout.

Your healthcare professional can assist you in adjusting your medication to prevent a hypoglycemic episode.

Type 2 Diabetes

People living with type 2 diabetes are either insulin resistant or their body does not produce enough insulin.

Exercise utilizes blood sugar for energy.  Hypoglycemia may be an issue if you are on a type 2 medication or injecting insulin. So definitely check in with your healthcare team on exercise guidelines.

Should You Stop Playing Hockey?

I would speak to your healthcare professional about the different types of exercises and the intensity required to keep your blood sugars closer to normal. Having your medical record on hand, your healthcare professional can guide you and assist you in refining the level at which you like to exercise.

You may be interested in the article and podcast below about diabetes and exercise.

Diabetes Health in the New Podcast: CGM Training May Improve Exercise Motivation

Type 1 Diabetes: Exercise Often Raises Blood Glucose in Type 1 Diabetes


The impact of brief high-intensity exercise on blood glucose levels


Nadia’s feedback on your question is in no way intended to initiate or replace your healthcare professional’s therapy or advice. Please check in with your medical team to discuss your diabetes management concerns.

AskNadia and receive her unique perspective on your question. Or share your story with us.

Email Nadia

Watch Nadia’s Videos

About Nadia:

Nadia is a diabetes advocate that was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview, now Diabetes Health magazine.

Nadia has received 19 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.
 She has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and other major cable networks. Her publications, medical supply business, and website have been cited, recognized and published in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, Ann Lander’s advice column, former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca, Entrepreneur magazine, Houston News,, Brand Week, Drug Topics, and many other media outlets.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *