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Name: Kim
Status: other
Grade: 9-12
Location: WA
Country: N/A
Date: 3/30/2005

When you exercise does that increase your blood sugar levels or decrease them?

Hi Kim!!

Great question - and the answer is both, actually. The situation is basically like this . . .

When you exercise, or even think about going to exercise (mentally get ready) your body responds be increasing your blood glucose (sugar) levels. This occurs through so called "glucose-sparing pathways" (gluconeogenesis, glycogensis, etc) that occur in the liver and other tissues in the body (your liver is the main organ that stores and releases glucose).

Okay, so there you are getting ready to work out, or starting to do so, and your body has released all these hormones to cause your liver to increase your blood glucose levels - now what?

Basically, your muscles use glucose as a primary fuel source during exercise - so your blood sugar levels are maintained at a higher level while you are working out until you use up all the stores your liver had available. It is at this point that your body starts burning fats and other fuel sources to keep it going.

That is the cut and dry answer to your question - although really you could sit down and take entire biochemistry courses on carbohydrate metabolism and still not get through it all!!

I hope that helps

Susannah Sample, BSBME
Department of Surgical Sciences
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Wisconsin, Madison

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