1. Get the Diabetes Forum App for your phone - available on iOS and Android.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Guest, we'd love to know what you think about the forum! Take the Diabetes Forum Survey 2021 »
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Diabetes Forum should not be used in an emergency and does not replace your healthcare professional relationship. Posts can be seen by the public.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Guest, stay home, stay safe, save the NHS. Stay up to date with information about keeping yourself and people around you safe here and GOV.UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19). Think you have symptoms? NHS 111 service is available here.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community »

Exercise and type 1 diabetes

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by ZoeFox, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. ZoeFox

    ZoeFox · Newbie

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Hi all! I'm type 1 diabetic and have just started (5 weeks ago) exercising quite intensively. I'm doing 3 intense one hour circuit training sessions per week. I'm loving it and really enjoying the feeling of getting a lot fitter and stronger.

    Just wanted to chat to other type 1 diabetics about how they manage their sugar levels around exercise? I tend to try and be high (10-ish) before the session and that usually seems to see me through.

    I tend to exercise in the evening and tend to have a snack 1 hour before the training. What do others do? And what type of snack do people have before exercise? I've eaten rice 'snack a jacks' and bananas. Sometimes fruit juice if I'm just about to start exercise and so don't want to eat anything heavy.

    Interested in feedback on all your experiences!

    Cheers,

    ZoeFox :)
     
  2. rkeane

    rkeane · Active Member

    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Hi,
    I also tend to exercise quite a lot since becoming a Type 1. Couldn't live without it now. I usually go for a run after my dinner during the week as only chance I get. However, with these dark evening sometimes I want to get my run out of the way before I sit down for the evening. I find that half a banana or slice of brown bread or 1 digestive biscuit works great for me. However I have to make sure to reduce my insulin prior to next meal as it seems to burn up my sugar couple of hrs after. Just be careful with that
     
  3. Debloubed

    Debloubed Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    828
    Likes Received:
    126
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Hi ZoeFox, I exercise most evenings (walking/running interval training) and I test before hand (obviously!) and snack depending on numbers, if I'm higher than 6 I won't snack and if lower (around 4 or 5) I will have 15g of quick acting carbs (x5 fruit pastilles or x10 jelly beans for reference!) but this is because I like to exercise before my main evening meal.

    One thing to remember is not to exercise if you have a high (14+) as if your liver dumps any more glucose to compensate for the exercise, that's not good! :?
     
  4. howie

    howie · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    i play tennis nearly every day, usually for about two hours. ideal for me is to eat before i start and use 1/2 the amount of insulin i would normally use for whatever i'm eating.

    i do the same when i go running. but you have to exercise for long enough or ya BG's start creeping up afterward.

    i always check before and after to make sure i'm on the right tracks. personally i start exercise at about 5-6 and finish with about 4 (sometimes with a tab in the middle and it's not always perfect). starting exercise at 10 or so you might as well not do it cos it's probably more detrimental than sitting on your a*se with safe BG's. I think its the insulin efficiency that improves not that your burning loadsa glucose thats makes ya go low, so thats why i eat and reduce my insulin. It nearly always seems to work for me. + you can get away with eating what ya want.

    all best,
    howie
     
  5. wilky

    wilky Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Interesting stuff. I don't find its a problem when doing small time exercise like cycling or swimming for 30 mins or so. If its full on during that time, then starting in the realms of 6/7/8 I can go hypo (for me that means anything under 4), so I'll tend to aim to be 9/10 ish. After exercise, if I'm going hypo, I need to take on more carbs than I'd like to to get back up again. It can end up starting a series of swings of highs and lows.

    When I go surfing, and can be in the sea for 2 or more hours at a time, I need to be about 13-15 to be safe - a hypo in the waves ain't fun! I also need to have not eaten for at least half an hour or I'll end up throwing up - so eating just before heading into the sea to "feed" the glucose demand on my body isn't an option as the carbs are dumped = hypo.

    I read above that exercising with a bs of 10+ is a bad idea and I agree (lots of scratchy sugars tearing away at the blood vessels) but I don't see another option.

    Has anyone read about how people deal with this kind of thing? I mean coping with gym, squash, swimming baths etc is one thing but longer intense sessions like with surfing, marathon training etc etc is another. Maybe carrying a small bottle of high glucose for top ups? But that is likely to get thrown up in the sea.
     
  6. Celtic.Piskie

    Celtic.Piskie · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    288
    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    38
    I have a Malamute dog, so I run / walk her for at least an hour every evening, and occasionally take her sledding.

    I don't tend to exercise when i'm high, nothing over 10, but i always cary some snacks with me, and have about half a pack of sweets on the way round.
    It can be very unpredictable, as i could spend all the time running fast, encouraging her to pull, or i could spend it all trying to not get dragged off my feet as she plays with another dog.

    Fruit juice is good, and i love banana's. It just depends so much on how intense your exercise is, what you're doing, and for how long.
    When I do yoga i tend to have a little snack before, a couple of crackers and cheese, maybe a bag of crisps, and that's it. It's very relaxing and not very intense at all.

    But i have no life, i do LARP events too... I know, sad and geeky lol.
    An entire weekend of running around and generally having fun, i'll usually half / 3/4 my insulin doses, reduce my daytime lantus, and snack a little more as it can be very intensive.
     
  7. howie

    howie · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
  8. wilky

    wilky Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Huge thanks for that link Howie :) hadn't come across it before.

    It doesn't sound like he has a perfect solution - he's still essenially aiming high with his bs before surfing - I'm guessing at around 15, which is what currently works for me. The hypo fit sachets are something new to me, and seem like they'd be fine in the sea, so should give me the confidence to aim a little lower on my bs before going in the sea. I'm thinking of going in the sea with bs more around 10, and having top ups from the (13.4g of carbs) sachets every half hour. Which is a cost of about £4 for 2 hours of surfing :( but... seems is poss to get at least some on prescription :)

    I don't think its realistic now for me to be aiming below a reading of 10 before going in the sea, but if I get my bs levels more balanced, 8 may be poss in a few months - yes, in february :mrgreen:

    Would be great to have a water proof bs tester too (its a bit risky leaving bags of valuables on the beach) - hey, you can get water proof ipods, so why not?!
     
  9. adrian29459

    adrian29459 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I think it can vary quite a lot depending on how much insulin people are taking and how quickly their body burns energy up during exercise. For me my blood sugar level can plummet pretty quickly during exercise. I do running twice a week and have done various half marathons/10ks for 2 years. I usually find with training I try to make sure my blood sugar is 7 or higher prior to exercise, with a cereal bar or banana recently eaten, I'll take sips of lucozade sport throughout the jog and every 20-25mins I'll eat something or take a few extra glucose tablets.

    I carry a material bottle holder around my hand and this has a pocket that I can keep tablets in. Also I recommend people try glucotabs - http://www.boots.com/en/Glucotabs-Orange-10-Glucose-Tablets-40g_51122/ - A bit more expensice than lucozade tablets but much easier to carry and use since they're in a plastic container. For bigger runs, on the great north run I used a belt I purchased from lucozade sport which could hold a bottle and also had pockets for other snacks. This was ok, but the following year I tried using a camelbak and improved on the prior year time by 30mins.

    I'm constantly trying to find better ways at keeping glucose levels up, I think a decent starchy meal a few hours prior probably helps a lot and is better than having a sip lucozade throughout which sometimes leads to stitch.

    LARP sounds fun!
     
  10. bigdhughes

    bigdhughes · Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    I try not to take any sugar before training or playing rugby as the intensity itself sends my blood sugars up. But for other sports such as Snowboarding and kayaking which arent so intensive I always make sure im above 10 as I burn sugar at an alarming rate. The glucotabs are a saviour as they are somewhat water resistant which is far easier for Kayaking :)
     
  11. Jenni_1984

    Jenni_1984 · Active Member

    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Thanks for posting this - I didn't know. I am sometimes tempted to exercise in the morning before taking my insulin, but I've had really high readings after doing this when I've tested.

    I - like everyone who has posted - have felt amazing benefits from exercise and am a regular at aerobics classes. As well as losing weight that really had to go I feel an awful lot more energetic and my general health has benefited.

    I've found a great 'extra' before exercise is a small milky bar - I had forgotten how much I loved these! I always have lucozade with me, which is easy as I can leave it at the side. When I got into running last year it was a nightmare as I had a water bottle to juggle, a bottle of lucozade, house keys...and more often than not 2 dogs! It never occured to me to invest in energy tablets!!

    I don't know if anyone else feels like it's trial and error? Something will work for me one day and then another day I'll get a higher reading or later at night I'll run into hypo. My 'safe' exercise level is 6.0. If I get a reading below this then I'll have something to eat and wait until my level comes up before I exercise. If I go below 6.0 it doesn't take much for me to hypo and I would normally start to feel 'funny' at 5.0.

    Jenni
     
  12. adrian29459

    adrian29459 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Thanks for all the posts people, I too have found a great benefit from doing exercise, both physically and mentally.

    I'm about to go for my training run tonight. I'm gonna make sure I have a cereal bar in the jacket pocket, my blood tester stays in the car when I get picked up, lucozade sport and gluco tabs in the bottle and holder, and a smaller bottle filled with normal sugary lucozade either in its special belt or more likely just placed in the shorts pocket... I have running gloves that have little slots to fit house keys in.

    Other runners have told me that jelly babies are good for an instant glucose fix.

    I agree its trial and error but I think best you can do is get into a routine and dont stray too far from it... which could mean sticking to the same meal prior, same snacks, same amount of insulin, same amount of exercise - I know this will be tricky.

    Oh and never forget the banana, can't beat it.
     
  13. bigdhughes

    bigdhughes · Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Have a good one Adrian! :D
     
  14. adrian29459

    adrian29459 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Tough session today... Pre session had tea with pasta and veg burger. Blood sugar 14 prior to run :(

    Hill runs up and down for about 40mins, used most my lucozade sport and my pure lucozade. I feel I could of ran better with a lower starting blood sugar.

    Straight after running my blood sugar was 9. Might get it right on thursday if I have tea earlier with more insulin...
     
  15. howie

    howie · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    38
    for me i find insulin is twice as effective when i'm exercisng so instead of 6 units with my brekky i do 3. i dont think the prob is burning sugar but increased insulin efficiency.

    i woke with 4.1mmol, checked just before run (15mins after eating) 5.8mmol. checked when i got back after 30mins run 4.9mmol. there's no need to be running high at all. i've been doin this for few weeks now practice made perfect, i dont take a meter and only stick a coupla tabs in my pocket cos i hardly consider going low now, i can just run free!!! (feels f**king great) + hour of weights when i get in sets me up in the low 4's ready for lunch and a protein shake.

    only prob i find is i'm prone to a stitch cos of eating right before getting active.

    keep up the exercise,
    howie
     
  16. noblehead

    noblehead Type 1 · Guru
    Retired Moderator

    Messages:
    23,618
    Likes Received:
    19,618
    Trophy Points:
    278
    Howie,

    How weird is that! I too woke this morning and was 4.1, and one hour after was 5.8, took dog for walk and came back and tested and was.......................................4.7 :( 0.1 different to you on this occasion.

    Don't be to sure about not going low when you are out running, as you well know with diabetes, things can change for no logical reason, so keep carrying the tabs. With all this running and weight-lifting you'll be starting to look like Charles Atlas :lol:

    I'm only jealous mate! :roll:

    Nigel
     
  17. fergus

    fergus Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,439
    Likes Received:
    131
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Interesting thread - glad to hear you guys are enjoying the physical stuff. I get a kick out of it too, the most frustrating times are when there are simply too few hours in the day to fit it all in.
    I never ever let my bg go near double figures even if there's a long run or bike ride coming up. If non-diabetics don't need all that sugar in their bloodstream, then neither do I. I'll try and be around 5mmol/l before a 50-60 mile ride and hope to be in the 4's by the end. What works for me is low insulin, low or zero carbs and very low variation in bg numbers.
    I always carry dextrose tabs in my back pocket on a ride but rarely seem to use them and end up giving most of them to my riding buddies when their bg levels plummet! Seriously, a non-diabetic pal posted a 2.3mmol/l bg on a ride last summer. :shock:

    fergus
     
  18. adrian29459

    adrian29459 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I went for another running session yesterday. Prior to the run I made sure to have tea and injection early (2.5hrs). Two hours later my blood sugar was 5.7 before I went out. I ate an oatey cereal bar and took a half bottle lucozade sport, glucotabs and a cereal bar with me. An hour later after the run I'd used up almost everything I brought with me so I tested in the car going home, 19.5!!!! What on earth!?

    10mins later I'm home and I think I know what the problem is. I wash the fingers throughly and re-test... 5.8. Phew... I think it must have been the glucotabs powder making my fingers very sugary...

    Concluding, I felt much better during the run having the lower blood sugars and will always try to ensure I stay within the 5-7 optimum range for future exercise.
     
  19. Nexus

    Nexus Type 1 · Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    41
    I cycle to work (15 miles each way) and find it's better to eat slow acting carbs like pasta or porridge and just top up with energy drink if needed. After a weekend ride say 40-50 miles I find a tray of Flapjacks ticks all the boxes. It might also be worth mentioning that hard exercise can have an effect on your blood sugars for a few days !
     
  20. day007

    day007 · Member

    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    23
    Can someone explain to me exactly what the problem is of exercising with a blood sugar over 10/14 or whatever counts as a really high level?!

    I don't understand how you can start exercise on anything lower than 12-14, I've recently started going to the gym and it just burns up sugar so much! I usually have 2 weetabix for breakfast and inject 8,but this morning for example I had 2 weetabix and a banana and NO INSULIN then 1 hour later probably with a blood sugar of 12-14 did 30mins run and 20 mins cross-trainer, had 250mls of orange juice during excercise and still finished with a blood sugar of 3! So I had another piece of bread with no insulin too.
    If I'd started exercising on say 7 I'd probably have just passed out on the treadmill!
    Is this just me being weird and using up sugar way too fast or am I doing something seriously wrong here?
     
  • Meet the Community

    Find support, connect with others, ask questions and share your experiences with people with diabetes, their carers and family.

    Did you know: 7 out of 10 people improve their understanding of diabetes within 6 months of being a Diabetes Forum member. Get the Diabetes Forum App and stay connected on iOS and Android

    Grab the app!
  • Tweet with us

  • Like us on Facebook