Dance Safety

Dance Out Diabetes Safety Tips

For People with Diabetes

  • Check with your healthcare provider before starting a dance program to be sure you do not have a health condition that restricts your ability to dance.
  • If you have type 1 and your glucose is above 250 mg/dL, check for ketones and only dance if your ketones are negative.
  • If you have type 2 and feel well, you can dance with glucose less than 300 mg/dL.
  • If glucose is less than 70 mg/dL, treat the low (or ask one of educators for help), and wait to exercise for a few hours. If it is 71-100 mg/dL, have a snack.
  • If you exercise for extended periods of time, check your glucose every 20-30 minutes during exercise, and at least every hour after you finish exercising.
  • Carry snacks to replenish energy burned or to treat for lows. Remember, 15 grams of carbohydrate last for about 30 minutes of exercise.

For Everyone

  • Wear comfortable, broken-in exercise shoes with a closed toe and cushioned socks. This will help properly support and protect your feet and avoid blisters, which can lead to other problems.
  • A slow warm-up is important to protect your muscles and joints from injury. In addition, sudden starts and stops add stress to the heart and could trigger a rapid change in blood glucose levels.
  • Follow this easy warm up video, compliments of Samantha Hines, Graduate Research Assistant of
    Sheri Colberg-Ochs from the Old Dominion University!
  • To properly “feed” your muscles with oxygen, hold your chest upright and breathe deeply and regularly.
  • Be careful not to get injured by overextending your muscles with kicking, swinging or flinging your arms, legs or neck further than is comfortable. You should never experience extreme pain when performing any dance move.
  • Dance at half time to the music if it’s going too fast for you. If you think you can last “just one more song” it might be a good time to stop. You should not feel exhausted!
  • Be aware of your body “center” to keep your balance on the dance floor. Keep your feet about shoulder width apart with a slight bend in your knees. From your center you can move up or down, left or right, or front to back while staying in control.
  • End your work out with a slow cool down. Slowly stretch your muscles, which will help avoid cramping, soreness, and stiffness later.
  • Drink enough fluids, especially for dancing more than 60 minutes or if it is hot and humid.

 Dance Glucose and Blood Pressure Guidelines

Based on input from our participants and approved by our Board of Directors, we are delighted to share a resource we have at all of our dances. Click Here to view the pdf version of Dance Glucose and Blood Pressure Guidelines.

Blood Glucose Levels Before, During, and After Exercise May:

Drop. This is the most common response to moderate activity. How long and how hard you exercise, and the type of diabetes treatment affects how much the glucose drops.

Stay the same. If you don’t take any medications for your diabetes and your starting glucose is in a normal range, it is also likely to stay the same. If the activity is short in duration, or your insulin levels are low during exercise, your glucose levels may not change at all.

Rise.  If you exercise intensely, your body releases more glucose-raising hormones (like adrenaline) which gives your muscles the energy the need. Glucose levels may rise temporarily. A warm-down exercise after a vigorous workout will help bring glucose levels back closer to normal.


  • Plan ahead and either eat a carbohydrate snack (about 10-15 grams for every 15-30 minutes of exercise) or lower last insulin dose before start of dance.
    This will help you prevent going low during and after the dance.
  • You may need to take a smaller amount than usual to correct a post-exercise high glucose.
  • Do not exercise during peak period of insulin. Ask one of our educators to explain this if you do not know when your insulin peaks.
  • Do not inject insulin at the exercising limbs.

Pills that cause body to release insulin:

Certain medicines cause the body to release insulin. You may need to work with your healthcare provider to adjust the dosage prior to exercise to prevent hypoglycemia.

Types of insulin and medicine may cause a low:


  • Rapid-acting,
  • Short-acting
  • Intermediate-acting
  • Long-acting


  • Sulfonylureas (glyburide, glipizide)
  • Meglitinides (Prandin)

Please do not hesitate to ask any of our on-site diabetes educators regarding questions about your medications.

Blood Pressure

Suggested Blood Pressure levels

  • – systolic (top number) between 90 and 199mmHg and/or
  • – diastolic (bottom number) less than 109mmHg