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New Type 1 cycling

Discussion in 'Fitness, Exercise and Sport' started by Besty W, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Besty W

    Besty W Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone, i was diagnosed in October last year as Type 1, and since I've really struggled to exercise as I often go low during light physical activity, I'm office bound during the week and control is tight 5-7 most days, I'm on 4 units long acting and 2-4 units of novarapid with meals.

    That's the background done, I used to do quite a lot of road cycling, last year going up to diagnosis I couldn't do it anymore as I felt so ill,

    I now feel ready to get back on the road, weathers better now too.... (not that I was a fair weather rider or a softie before) I might need some new Lycra, it's not meant to be baggy! I'd like to start back at around 10 miles, just to get back out there. Docs have said it's ok for me to skip the insulin for exercise. I have got some concerns that I'd like any advice on....

    - how much food/carbs to take on prior
    - what glucose level should be prior to starting
    - the food sugar types to take with me
    - anything else you can offer :)

    Thanks!
     
  2. Granny_grump_

    Granny_grump_ Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Good luck with getting back to cycling, I'm type 2 so no use to you with advice, but someone will get back to you soon with help
    Admire you, nice to hear after being told your type 1. Diabetic. K
     
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  3. Scott-C

    Scott-C Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    T1 won't stop you biking! If anything, exercise will make it easier.

    You might be honeymooning at the moment. Shortly after diagnosis, the beta cells in the pancreas which make insulin start working again for a while, can be months for some people, a year or so for others, and it can make things very unpredictable: you bolus correctly for a meal, then your beta cells squirt out some more insulin on top, which sends you low. So be careful in the first year and expect the unexpected, always have some fast sugar in your pocket.

    Exercise allows you to use glucose with less insulin, so, generally speaking, each time you have a meal, think about what you're going to be doing in the next six hours. If I know I'm just going to be sitting around I'll take X units, but if I'm going to be exercising, I'll take a few units less. The amount you drop it by will be learned through experience.

    I'm a lot lazier now but used to live on my bike when I was younger. A Dawes Galaxy tourer, racing green, with Brooks saddle.

    Usually did about 20 miles a day, didn't need much for that other than lowering insulin and taking some dextrotabs with me, one bottle with water, the other with some fruit juice.

    Did tours as well, with tent in the panniers, a few hundred miles over a week or two, about 50 to 80 miles a day, and would generally lower my basal by about a half or a quarter a few days before in preparation seeing as the mileage was higher and for longer. Carried some oatcakes and jam and kind of drip- fed myself with them periodically: a quick glucose boost from the jam, and a slow feed from the low gi oatmeal. Dried dates were pretty useful as well: very high carb and didn't take up much room in the panniers.

    There's a thing called after-drop which you should be careful about. You can be fine during exercise, but you can then drop quite heavily hours afterwards, so keep an eye on that.

    I really didn't find T1 to be a problem on tours. Because of the exercise, I'd be sitting down to a plate of pasta and would just take a tiny squirt of insulin, because I knew (a) afterdrop, (b) less insulin if exercising.

    Sure, be cautious to start with, especially when honeymooning, but pretty soon you'll know by how much to lower insulin, and the main hurdle will be well meaning relatives saying, ooh, you're diabetic, are you sure you should be doing that?

    My answer to that is to show them this pic of my bike and my trusty Macpac tent pitched overlooking the sea when I was cycling from Rome to Athens, and then say to them, I'm T1 and I did that, you're not T1, would you even think about doing that?

    20170325_104656.jpg

    Main problem really, was that I'd try to keep civilised and pitch up near a pub for a few pints which adds an additional layer if complexity!
     
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  4. JamesC1

    JamesC1 Type 1 · Active Member

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    Hey. I definitely don't do as much exercise as you do, but i normally have a couple of biscuits before i start. In total i take around 14g of carb before exercise but it varies depending on your insulin ratios and how much sport you're doing. I normally take glucose tabs with me and high GI food. If I'm around 10 - 12 mmol/l before then i leave it and don't eat anything. Your best bet is to experiment, but I'm sure you'll find people more experienced than me on here that can offer you more help than i can.

    Hope you find the answers you're looking for.
     
  5. TorqPenderloin

    TorqPenderloin Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, I'm of the mindset of trying to avoid as much food and insulin as possible before exercise. If I do eat something, it's usually a Quest low-carb protein bar. I live in the US and they may not have them in the UK.

    I'm lucky enough to be able to run as far a 9-10 miles first thing in the morning without eating/drinking anything more than black coffee. Without eating anything and with my basal set properly, I'm able to start a run at 4 mmol/l without fear of going low.
     
  6. therower

    therower Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @TorqPenderloin . You have obviously got great control and understanding of your diabetes. I'm curious though as to what you would call low blood sugars. If I was at 4.0 I would consider that low and wouldn't even consider exercise without taking something on board.
     
  7. Besty W

    Besty W Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Scott C, thanks for the great response, I've found so far information from other diabetics far more useful than my DSN, I'll be sure to try some of your advice. Thanks again
     
  8. Scott-C

    Scott-C Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    No problem. I've never really bothered with forums before because most of them just turn into flame wars, but I decided to join this one because it's full of thoroughly decent, kind, caring people who've been there, done that and can often offer a new perspective on a problem.

    Doctors and DSNs are usually "book" diabetics - they have the letters after their name, but most decent doctors will admit they have no idea of the practical realities of it.

    It's actually quite an interesting time to become diabetic. There's not going to be a cure anytime soon, but all the stuff going on with cgm (dexcom, medtronic, libre), smart insulin which switches on and off in response to glucose levels, HDV which taxis insulin to the liver, and wrapping islets in seaweed alginates makes life look a lot more promising. Boldly on we go....
     
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  9. Besty W

    Besty W Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I go from 7.0 to 4.0 washing my car or taking the dog for a walk etc I'm fine during the working week behind my desk. With levels like this, my concern is going beyond 4 and not noticing hence the need for a little advice
     
  10. Besty W

    Besty W Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi, thanks for the tip, I'm not able to avoid food at the moment as I've lost 3 stone going up to diagnosis, I haven't looked very well since as I'm underweight. I've started to put a little bit on now, slowly but surely
     
  11. therower

    therower Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Besty W . We all have different hypo/ low sugar awareness. To put a bit of perspective on levels, the DVLA set a level of 5mmo/l for being able to drive, anything below and you are breaking the law.
    A lot of T1 diabetics would consider 4 to be low and would be looking to raise there BS level as a matter of importance.
    I believe you are recently diagnosed and appear to be currently taking quite a small amount of insulin, this may explain why you are able to manage with your sugars at relatively low levels. You are I suspect in the honeymoon period and your pancreas is still functioning occasionally and helping you along, this will change going forward and your insulin requirements will increase. Hypo unawareness is common in people who have generally been diagnosed for an extended period of time.
    Hypo / low sugars usually have the following symptoms
    Sweating
    Tingling lips/ mouth
    Blurred/ wobbly / double vision
    Intense hunger
    Inability to perform simple tasks and think logically
    Irritability
    Any of these feelings would suggest low sugars and warrant hypo treatment, as someone newly diagnosed you may have or have not experienced these feelings so far.
    Hope this helps.
    What part of Leicestershire are you in?
     
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  12. Besty W

    Besty W Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi thanks for the response, I'm fairly sensitive to lows currently, which I hope to maintain by not dipping into it too often. I've had a few highs and lows so far, while I adjust to my new life.

    We're from Burbage near Hinckley
     
  13. therower

    therower Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    It will get easier. Don't let diabetes stop you from doing anything. It thrives on negativity and having any control of us. It's difficult but see it as a companion, work with it and use it to make you stronger.
    Big hello from Anstey.
     
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  14. TorqPenderloin

    TorqPenderloin Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm not saying you should avoid food entirely. I'm saying that you should avoid over-complicating the situation as much as possible. When you combine insulin, carbs, and exercise together you create a very complicated equation. I eat roughly 3000 calories a day, but only about 5 (coffee) come before my workouts in the morning.

    To answer your question, I correct for anything below 3.7 mmol/l. However, there is much more to the equation than that.

    My basal insulin (Tresiba) is set perfectly meaning that in most cases I can fast for 8-10 hours and my blood sugar will not rise or drop more than .5 mmol/l in that time. Consequently, I can go for a 90 minute run starting at 4.0 mmol/l and not have to worry about my blood sugar dropping. However, this assumes I haven't injected any bolus insulin with the last 4 hours.

    However, if I have recently eaten and injected insulin I would probably not start a run at anything less than 5 mmol/l and I'd certainly be very careful. With bolus insulin on board, an evening walk could easily cause hypoglycemia.

    For me, the problem is that a 1u correction dose will normally drop me about 1.7 mmol/l. If I factor in exercise, 1u could drop me more than 3 mmol/l.

    Ultimately, my point is to say that it's not the number I start at that's most important before exercise. It's the circumstances leading up to exercise that I most consider: how much bolus insulin do I have on board? How many carbs did I just eat? High/Low GI carbs? Did I also eat a lot of fat? What kind of exercise am I engaging in? For how long?

    Bottom line- if I haven't recently injected insulin the equation is very simple.
     
  15. therower

    therower Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    @TorqPenderloin . Thanks for the reply, quite interesting to know how different regimes work for us as individuals.
    Seems you've got your control right where it suits you especially regarding exercise.
    I think you do well to function at levels that low, I certainly wouldn't be able to exercise that low.
     
  16. Besty W

    Besty W Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jamie34, I had a rowing machine as well as a few bikes prior to T1D, I found it helped my cycling by adding core strength, however the sheer boredom of rowing in my garage didn't inspire me enough to keep going and I sold it one eBay, think I bought a couple of beers with the money....
    It wasn't much for me, but each to their own, and the question for yourself is what are you trying to achieve. If you know this, working out a exercise plan to achieve your goal will be much easier.
     
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