Diabetes + 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 athlete with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are essentially two:

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.

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.

Get Started

Start Working out with T1D

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3 Diabetes Fitness Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

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Get Out There: Exercise Tips from T1D Athletes

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Get Moving with T1D: Exercise Basics

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Your Child Can Exercise Safely with T1D

Learn helpful guidelines for when to reduce your child's insulin intake, increase carbohydrate, and respond to various blood sugar levels.MORE
exercising with type 1 diabetes

Avoid Exercise Lows: How to Time Your Workouts Around Insulin Doses

Looking 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



Glucagon 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 Training

Hyperglycemia is one of the biggest hurdles to improving health, getting in shape and performing well. Here are 10 reasons why blood glucose levels (BGLs) can go high.MORE

Blood Sugar Control—During and After Exercise

I’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 Pinch

Trainer, 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 Itself

Dr. 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 Lows

Dive 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 Highs

Have you ever wondered why, with certain types of exercise, your blood sugar does not drop or even, in some cases, rises?MORE
endurance exercise with closed loop pump

Tips: Endurance Exercise with a Closed-Loop Pump

Learn how to adjust your closed-loop insulin pump for any type of exercise with type 1 diabetes -- especially endurance training!MORE
dehydration and your blood sugar

How Dehydration Can Spike Your Blood Sugar

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How to Adjust Your Insulin Rates for Endurance Training

How to Adjust Your Insulin Rates for Endurance Training

How you adjust your insulin rates for endurance training 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 Meter

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Tips + Tricks: Losing Weight While Taking Insulin

Insulin may be a life-saving medication but there are many misconceptions about its impact on your weight. Let’s get the facts straight.MORE

Reach Your Goals

How to Reach Your Body Goals without Obsessing over Weight

As 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 Diabetes

This 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 Success

After an intense workout, your body craves caloric energy. Respond by turning to post-workout meals with glycogen, blood glucose and more.MORE

6 Ways to Make Sure Your Next Goal is a Success

Certified 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 Performance

If 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 and weight-gain

Endurance Exercise & Weight-Gain: Why It Happens & How to Prevent It

Training for a marathon but gaining weight? Understand why it happens and how to prevent it...MORE

Dive Deeper

The 5 Go-To Yoga Practices That Saved My Life

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Swimming and T1D

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Riding On Insulin – Tips for Skiing and Snowboarding with T1D

ROI 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 Diabetes

While 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 Motion

At 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 Diabetes

The 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 T1D

Carter Clark talks tips for climbing for first-timers with Type 1 diabetes.MORE

The T1D Guide to Running Your First Marathon

So, you have T1D and you want to run a marathon? You’re in luck! Alexi just did and shares her tips and tricks.MORE

Personal Stories

Here, you’ll find a huge variety of personal stories on managing blood sugar levels during exercise from people living with Type 1 diabetes.

Baseball & Football

Kendall Simmons and His T1D Diagnosis in the NFL

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two years into his pro career, former NFL defensive lineman Kendall Simmons went on to win the Super Bowl.MORE

Talking T1D with Sam Fuld: Major League Baseball Player and Dad

When asked about managing his routine while on the road vs. at home, Sam stresses that every day is different no matter where he is. "If I’m playing and I’m 0 for 4 and I get no action in the...MORE


Top Irish Cyclist Diagnosed with Type 1

After consulting with my healthcare provider on a diabetes management plan, including nutrition and exercise, I went home from the hospital and went cycling. After that, I decided I wasn’t going to ...MORE

Type 1 Training Tips from a National Champion Cyclist

One of my biggest goals is to represent my country and Team Novo Nordisk in the 2020 Olympics Games. Not only would it be the pinnacle of my athletic career, but it would also be an incredible platfor...MORE

I went from “I can’t walk” to “I’m cycling to Paris”

Two days into taking insulin with no clue of what was to come next, I signed up for a three-day event cycling from London to Paris in September 2016. At the time I had lost significant weight, had no ...MORE

Cycling Cross-Country: T1D and Tubeless

Ultimately I selected the Omnipod based on the fact that it was waterproof (no need to “un-plug”) and, since I could basically wear it anywhere, I wouldn’t need to clip it on my swimsuit or worr...MORE

Transform Your Passion Into Character

David Lozano is a cyclist on Team Novo Nordisk, the first all diabetes professional cycling team.MORE

Life is Not a Problem to be Solved, it’s a Reality to Experience

Emanuel Mini is the first and only Latin American cyclist on Team Novo Nordisk, the first all diabetes professional cycling team.MORE


The Toughest Footrace on Earth

On March 11, 2016, Roddy Riddle, ultra-marathon runner from Scotland with Type 1 diabetes, will embark on the toughest race in the world and most certainly of his life — the 6633 Ultra Marathon of t...MORE

5 Tips for Running with Type 1 Diabetes

Running with diabetes hasn't always been pretty. It's been trial and error every single day. Within 10 days of my diagnosis, I had all the technology available to assist with diabetes manage...MORE

A Runner’s Guide to T1D

Twenty years after her diagnosis, Stephanie Kahn is readying to run a half marathon and a full marathon in the same year. While her training is readying her body, it's her mind she feels shifting...MORE

How I Learned to Love my Body

For the first time in my life, I was okay listening to my body. I listened to it when it was in pain, or when it told me it needed a day off. MORE

T1D Cardiologist Balances Life with Marathon Running

Running a marathon would usually be an exceptional experience to write about however in this case I am one of a team of athletes with Type 1 diabetes training for the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon.MORE

My Race to the Finish Line: I’m an Ironman with Type 1

My only goal was to finish for all type 1s. I was chasing the biggest athletic dream of my life, and I wanted type 1s to chase their own.MORE

Weight lifting

Bolus and Barbells—Heavy Weight Champion Inspires

With very little training, Rodney competed at 210 pounds and won second place in the deadlift and first place in the bench press. He discovered that he truly enjoyed competing, and all the training an...MORE

Party Animal Turned Physique Competitor

I've been a person with type 1 diabetes for 18 years, which has had its ups and downs. My control over the last six years has been good due to exercise and nutrition education, but it wasn't...MORE

Type 1 Powerlifter Redefines “Disability”

As far as personal fitness accomplishments, Chris currently holds four state records for powerlifting, and is on track to become a pro Powerlifter. "I can deadlift 606 pounds which is almost 3.5 ...MORE

Dance & Gymnastics

What It’s Like To Be a Ballerina with Type 1

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes during my sophomore year of high school, which was the biggest year for my dance career so far.MORE

Dancing in the Macy’s Day Parade

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A Gymnast Superstar Lands on Her Feet

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The 5 Go-To Yoga Practices That Saved My Life

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M is for Meditation

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Striving for a Personal Best

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Surfing + Swimming

Swimming On Insulin

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T1D Swimming Champs

Swimming the length of a pool can be a daunting task for just about anybody. Try being a 6-year-old, summoning the courage and strength to swim as many as 20 laps a day.MORE

WRITTEN BY BT1 Editorial Team, POSTED 12/07/17, UPDATED 12/30/22

This piece was authored collaboratively by the Beyond Type 1 Editorial Team.