Exercise type and intensity

Exercise type and intensity

Exercise can be divided into moderate and vigorous activity. The difference in intensity will have an implication for glucose management.

This table shows different intensities of different types of exercise:

Low Intensity

  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Bowls
  • Walking on flat ground
  • Walking lengths of swimming pool
  • Putting
  • Golf
  • Cricket
  • Snooker
  • Darts

Mid Intensity

  • Cycling
  • Cross trainer
  • Walking uphill
  • Jogging
  • Swimming (breast stroke)
  • Body Jam classes
  • Body Pump classes
  • Aqua aerobics
  • Rowing (comfortable pace)
  • Football
  • Badminton

High Intensity

  • Rowing (hard pace)
  • Running
  • Sprinting
  • Interval training
  • Swimming (front crawl)
  • Body Attack classes
  • Body Step classes
  • Spinning classes
  • Circuit classes
  • Boxercise classes
  • Step machine
  • Rugby
  • Squash
  • Tennis

Now look at the possible effects that your exercise type and intensity have on your blood glucose: 

Day to day; Low intensity = low blood glucose levels during and after

Short and sharp; high intensity = high blood glucose levels during and immediately after, then delayed low levels after

Moderate/intermittent for up to 90 minutes; mid to high intensity = High and/or low blood glucose levels during, and delayed low levels after

Endurance, over 1 hour; Mid intensity = Low blood glucose levels during and after


  1. Comment by Samantha. C. on 30th April 2020 at 8:11 am

    I cover what I should do for daily exercise plus all the running about at work. Vigorous exercise is something I should work on to. I’ve thought about turning my daily walk into a power walk and also will be starting gym work at home when I get my equipment delivered. I don’t enjoy running. I’m 52 years of age now and f feel what I am doing just now is copable but feel there is room for adaptions i.e. adding more vigorous exercise. I often get very tired now tho with Juggling work, play and exercise.

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