Diabetes and Exercise
Editor’s Note: Consult your doctor before engaging in a new exercise regimen. Exercising with Type 1 diabetes can lead to potentially dangerous swings in your blood sugar levels.
Exercising with Type 1 diabetes is complicated. The type of exercise, time of day, length of your workout, types of insulin, pump vs. injections, the last time you ate, etc. are some of the many variables that determine how it will affect your blood sugar.
But regular exercise is also an important part of managing Type 1 diabetes and your general health, so learning how to make it part of your routine is worth the effort.
The primary risks of physical activity for the T1D athlete are essentially two:
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
To prepare for hypoglycemia, keep at least 15 to 20 grams of fast-acting carbohydrates on hand at all times. Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, tends to drive blood glucose down depending on how much insulin is already active in your bloodstream. Learning how to adjust insulin doses and time your exercise accordingly can significantly reduce your risk of hypoglycemia during and after exercise.
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
Certain high-intensity or anaerobic exercises, such as weight lifting or sprinting, can increase blood sugar levels. Learning how to adjust insulin doses and time your exercise accordingly can significantly reduce your risk of hyperglycemia during and after exercise.
Here, we offer a variety of resources to help you manage your blood sugar around different types of exercise and different methods of controlling the many variables that make it complicated.
Start Working out with T1DI’m a big advocate of resistance training. I even compete in fitness competitions so I definitely practice what I preach. I believe that resistance training is the most effective way to get in shape...MORE
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Get Out There: Exercise Tips from T1D AthletesSo whether you are just getting started or are looking to increase the intensity of your workouts, here is the helpful advice our panel had to share!MORE
Get Moving with T1D: Exercise BasicsGet moving with a healthy, blood sugar friendly exercise routineMORE
Your Child Can Exercise Safely with T1DLearn helpful guidelines for when to reduce your child's insulin intake, increase carbohydrate, and respond to various blood sugar levels.MORE
Avoid Exercise Lows: How to Time Your Workouts Around Insulin DosesLooking for a way to avoid those mid-exercise low blood sugars? This method can help, whether you’re exercising first thing in the morning or later in the day!MORE
Manage the Highs & Lows
GlucagonGlucagon raises your blood sugar (treating hypoglycemia) while insulin lowers it (treating hyperglycemia or preventing it when taken before eating).MORE
10 Reasons For Hyperglycemia During TrainingEditor’s Note: Phil Graham (BSc, CISSN) is a certified sports nutritionist and competitive body builder. Learn more of his training tips on his site Diabetic Muscle and Fitness. High blood sug...MORE
Blood Sugar Control — During and After ExerciseI’ll walk you through three different types of exercise, and what you usually can expect from a blood sugar perspective. I also suggest strategies for managing your blood sugar during and after each...MORE
5 Moves to Bring Down Blood Sugars in a PinchTrainer, nutritionist and diabetic health coach Matt Vende Vegte lets us in on his favorite five moves to bring stubborn BGs down - and you can even do them in the office! MORE
How To Prevent Lows During Exercise With Exercise ItselfDr. Sheri Colberg shares her ways to prevent lows during exercise using specific exercises to do so. She has compiled these methods using research + athlete experiences.MORE
Don’t Crash: How to Manage Exercise LowsDive into the science behind the blood sugar drops during and after exercise so you can better understand and plan for them. MORE
Anticipate the Rise: How to Manage Exercise Induced HighsHave you ever wondered why, with certain types of exercise, your blood sugar does not drop or even, in some cases, rises?MORE
Tips for Endurance Exercise with a Closed-Loop PumpLearn how to adjust your closed-loop insulin pump for any type of exercise with Type 1 diabetes -- especially endurance training!MORE
How Dehydration Can Spike Your Blood SugarAre you drinking enough water? Even mild dehydration can spike your blood sugar if you have diabetes. Learn why here...MORE
How to Adjust Your Basal Rates for Endurance Exercise TrainingAdjusting your insulin doses while training for an endurance sport is a careful and personal process. Here are some tips to help you along the way!MORE
Using an App to Track Blood Sugar Levels From Your Glucose MeterTired of using another device to track your blood sugar levels? As the saying goes, there's now "an app for that!" (Several apps, actually.)MORE
Reach Your Goals
How to Reach Your Body Goals without Obsessing over WeightAs a personal trainer, and especially as a personal trainer who specializes in helping people living with diabetes reach their fitness goals, I always recommend a strength building fitness plan over a...MORE
How to Build Muscle with DiabetesThis is a basic overview of how muscle tissue is built and the important considerations people living with diabetes need to make in order to maximize their muscle growth potential. This advice is suit...MORE
Post-Workout Meals and Diabetes: How to Fuel for SuccessAfter an intense workout, your body wants energy and wants it NOW. There is no “wait a minute.” So how does our body respond? We turn to the most accessible sources: glycogen and (some) blood gluc...MORE
6 Ways to Make Sure Your Next Goal is a SuccessCertified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Ben Tzeel, gives 6 ways you can make your goals a success. No more excuses, and no more falling off that treadmill. MORE
Ramp Up Your Exercise PerformanceIf you’re looking to ramp up your athletic performance, either for a major event or just to meet a personal goal, here are some tips and tricks. MORE
Endurance Exercise & Weight-Gain: Why It Happens & How to Prevent ItTraining for a marathon but gaining weight? Understand why it happens and how to prevent it...MORE
The 5 Go-to Yoga Practices that Saved my LifeI discovered that Yoga is more than a good stretch. It’s a tree with many branches, each limb a path back to harmony and balance, a way to mitigate stress.MORE
Swimming and T1DWhether swimming for recreation or competitively, at the pool or beach, it's important to keep some things in mind while managing Type 1 in the water. MORE
Riding On Insulin – Tips for Skiing and Snowboarding with T1DROI puts on ski and snowboard camps for kids with T1D (and their siblings) across America, Canada and even New Zealand.MORE
Yoga for People with DiabetesWhile I didn’t start yoga to help me manage my diabetes better, every day my practice helps me do just that. Here are three ways yoga helps you conquer your diabetes, off the mat.MORE
Backpacking 101: Tips from the Experts at Connected in MotionAt Connected in Motion, we love connecting people around adventure. We love the intense sense of community created by a group of people exploring the edge of their comfort zones and leaping into the u...MORE
Yoga for DiabetesThe word yoga means wholeness, completeness. Instead of seeing myself as incomplete, yoga has taught me that no matter what happens to my body, the one looking out through the eyes (the experiencer) c...MORE
Tips for Beginning Climbers with T1DCarter Clark talks tips for climbing for first-timers with Type 1 diabetes.MORE
Here, you’ll find a huge variety of personal stories on managing blood sugar levels during exercise from people living with Type 1 diabetes.