Swimming and T1D


Whether 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. Being out in the elements and with any kind of physical activity, just takes a little extra planning.  Here is Beyond Type 1’s quick list for success when swimming!

Plan and Pack

Be sure to stock up on your supplies. If possible, keep all monitors, needles, glucose tablets, transmitters and other diabetic necessities in a Ziploc bag to keep dry. It is always better to have more than less, so don’t be afraid to stock up.

Sweat matters

Even though you are in the water, you are most definitely sweating and getting exercise! Take into account how long you are moving around in the waves or the pool to avoid any lows. This might mean that you need to switch up the amount of insulin that you are taking each day.


If participating in outside swimming, remember that the sun acts like a sponge on your body as you sweat throughout the day. You are also exercising! Be sure that you carry a reusable water bottle with you so that you are always prepared to fill up when you can. Dehydration and diabetes do not go well together.

Check blood glucose levels (BGLs) Frequently

As with any exercise, you run the risk of running low. It may be more difficult to detect a low while in water as well. Make sure you check your blood sugar frequently to be sure you’re in range and have a sugar source nearby to correct a sudden low.

Tape up your Monitors

Your continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is built to stay put through tough conditions, but sometimes it is necessary to add another layer to your site. There are companies where you can purchase a cool design of tape to put over your CGM. Also, you can buy kinesiology tape at a sporting goods store. You can cut out a shape for your CGM, and stick it on top of the monitor to ensure that your monitor will last in the water.

Maintain your type 1 diabetes (T1D) routine

Routines will naturally go astray when you are busy going in and out of the pool or the beach. However, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are keeping track of your levels and paying attention to how you are feeling. Take a break from the sun to check your BG levels, have a snack, or just relax.

Read the Ultimate Beach Guide for Type 1!

WRITTEN BY BT1 Editorial Team, POSTED 07/02/16, UPDATED 12/22/22

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