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Let’s Get Moving

May 14, 2010

Day 5 of Diabetes Blog Week – Let’s Get Moving

Having Type 1 Diabetes is not a good excuse for not exercising.

I tend to say that I run despite having Type 1 Diabetes, but I just recently read a quote from somebody (I wish I could remember who) that said they run, BECAUSE they have Type 1 Diabetes.  That is simply awesome.

With some determination and trial and error, you can workout just like everybody else.  There are days when I fall on the “error” side (like yesterday afternoon’s bike ride), but for the most part I know how my body is going to react.  The absolute most important thing to consider is Insulin on Board (the amount of active insulin in your body).

This morning I ran 6 miles and managed my BG perfectly.  118 when I woke up this morning, took the kids to daycare, ran 6 miles and finished up by testing at 122.  Here’s what I did this morning and what I do for every morning run:

  • 2 hours before starting my run, I lowered my basal by approx 50%.
  • About 5 minutes before my run I ate a package of peanut butter crackers (23 carbs)
  • Ran (didn’t eat anything during my run)
  • Let my basal go back to normal half way through my run to help prevent a spike after

So, here’s the thing – you do NOT have to let your BG go sky high before exercising.  By controlling your Insulin on Board and eating a few carbs before going out, you can make it with normal BG levels.

A few more important things to consider:

  • TEST.  Before, after and for longer activities, during.  I found on longer runs, every 4-5 miles works good for me.
  • Watch out for lows 6-8 hours following an activity.  During this time, your body is recovering and using up glucose.  After a morning workout, I will lower my basal by 60% for 2 – 3 hours later in the afternoon.
  • Extremely hard efforts can actually raise your BG.  I have noticed after hard effort swims that my BG will skyrocket.  I have to give myself an extra bolus after wards to prevent a big spike.
  • Never go out with some sort of carbs with you.  I prefer GU.
  • GET A ROAD ID!!!!  I have an Elite and I never take it off
  • Different activities require different plans.  For running and cycling, I use the same plan.  For swimming, that is all out the window.  I am now down to only lowering my basal by 50% 1 hour (MAX) before, eating 20-30 carbs pre-swim, and then giving a bolus to cover any missed basal asap following my swim.

Don’t let me fool you, working out and dealing with T1 is an enormous challenge, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

If you are interested in more information, here are some previous posts that go into more detail…


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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lorraine permalink
    May 14, 2010 1:42 pm

    I’ve said it before, Gary, but it’s worth repeating – I admire and respect you so much for taking on the challenge of exercise with diabetes. To say it’s not easy, does not give it justice. I love your attitude and enjoy your blog because it is chockful of great tips on how to handle it. I will now promptly RT this little treasure of a post…

  2. May 14, 2010 7:58 pm

    I definitely can’t say that I have my eating and boluses and basals figured out correctly for exercise, but reading your posts about exercise reminds me that it’s possible. Now I just have to do it!

  3. May 17, 2010 4:46 pm

    I tended to always let myself go low during work outs because I hated feeling like I had to spike up into the 200s before I started. I just really hate being high. But like you suggest, I’ve been working hard to figure out how to manage temp basals to keep me more steady during a workout. It’s trial and error, sure, but I think I”m starting to get there!

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