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Cycling with insulin pump

Discussion in 'Fitness, Exercise and Sport' started by Spablauw_, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. Spablauw_

    Spablauw_ Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    To everyone out there that cycles regularly (or similar cardio exercise) , how do you manage this with your insulin pump?

    I've been pumping for a month now and the main reason that I wanted one was to avoid frequent hypo's when cycling. I thought I could put on a temporary basal and I was set but things haven't worked out that way for me.

    My basal rate is around 0.8 per hour and what I've been doing for the last 5 times is set a temp basal at 60% for 6 hours long starting the moment I get on my bike.
    This wil reduce my basal to 0,475 units per hour and on a 6 hour period it will give me about 2 units less.

    But I still have to eat a lot to prevent going hypo especially at the start which makes sense because I only set my temp basal when I get on my bike because that's what I've been told to do. The doctors told me that if I set a temp basal 1 hour before the exercise it could make me go high the first 15 mins.

    Now I was wondering how you guys manage it, I understand that maybe it's not possible to completely avoid eating which is good because I sometimes go for a 3 hour ride and then I could use some energy but right now I'm forced to eat against my will and way too much.

    I also don't know how low I can go with my temp basal ? For now I've only tried 60%

  2. Kim Possible

    Kim Possible · Guest

    I can't tell you about pumping and cycling.
    However, I exercise frequently with my pump and always adjust my temporary basal 60 to 90 minutes before I start
    This is because NovoRapid takes about that long to have an effect for me.
    If I wait until I start exercising for my hour long gym session, the temporary basal won't affect me until I have finished.

    As for "how low do you dare to go?", I would not worry about going lower than 60%. I have read of some people removing their pump (and enjoying the "freedom") when they exercise.

    Have you had a look at http://www.runsweet.com/ ? This website is dedicated to exercising with type 1 diabetes and discusses approaches for all different types of sport.
  3. Juicyj

    Juicyj Type 1 · Moderator
    Staff Member

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    Hi @Spablauw_ I cycle with my pump and tend to set up my temp basal about 30 mins before I head out, I only go out for an hour as being a mum unless I have childcare I can't go for long stretches, but I tend to find that I cycle hard for 30 minutes then I stop to test and then push on, however if i've got hills or a hard push then I can easily go low so I try to keep a check mentally on how i'm feeling as sometimes it's hard to feel a hypo coming when going hard, I tend to find my pace slows when I am going low so if I am getting more tired then stop and check straight away, other factors connected to exercise you have to take into account are stress which releases adrenaline and then keeping a good watch on your levels for a good few hours afterwards too as your muscles continue to drain glucose as they rest. It's like anything though with t1, what works for me may not for you, but keep a diary of your exercise and include start and finish BG levels, what temp basal used, duration of exercise and intensity as well as other factors like temperature, in hotter weather I am more prone to hypos and colder weather I stay high, hope this helps and good luck with the cycling - also look up the JDRF cycle team too, made up of t1's - Team Novo Nordisk.
  4. tim2000s

    tim2000s Type 1 · Expert
    Retired Moderator

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    To give you some idea, prior to getting on the bike, I'd set a 0 TBR for an hour and a half, especially if I was planning on a long ride, and then set somewhere around 50% once that's done. The issue is always if you carry insulin into the ride so the initial kick off has too much IOB for the type of exercise.

    I'd also consider setting up a "cycling profile" that I could switch to, which ran at much lower levels of insulin, so I was effectively TBR to zero from that, and when the TBR ended, I wouldn't have to set up additional TBRs while riding.

    You do need to bear in mind that things like hill climbs and sprints flip you from aerobic to anaerobic exercise, so you'll likely see a glucose rise when you do those parts of the activity as well.
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