Exercise Stuff

Exercise is good for you and part of your diabetes management plan.

 REGULAR EXERCISE MAKES YOU

  • Insulin sensitive so your insulin works better
  • Lower your blood pressure
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Keep your weight in the normal range for your age and height
  • Create a sense of well being
  • Strengthen your heart and lungs

 

THINGS THAT AFFECT BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS DURING EXERCISE:

  • Carbohydrate foods
  • Insulin levels
  • Intensity of the exercise
  • Duration of the exercise
  • Recent high or low blood sugars
  • Timing of exercise to recent food and insulin
  • Blood glucose before you start
  • Adrenaline in competitive sport

 

GETTING STARTED (NOW THAT YOU HAVE DIABETES)

  •  If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes or are starting a new activity or just getting off the couch the more likely it is that your blood sugars will go low and you will need less insulin. Talk to your diabetes nurse or doctor for advice!
     FUEL SOURCES
  • First fuel available for exercise is glucose which is quickly used up
  • Second source is release of glucose from the muscle and then the liver
  • Third source is fat – stored energy – which is used when the insulin level falls

Blood glucose

Effects of glucose and insulin on metabolism

Impact on performance

Too much insulin and not enough glucose available for the cells

Tired, poor performance. Correct low blood glucose before starting exercise.

4-10 mmols

Efficient fuel flow

Maximum performance

 

>10 mmols

If insulin level is OK then blood sugars will fall

Performance may be reduced but ok to do exercise

>15 mmols

Glucose likely to rise as not enough insulin on board

Tired, poor performance, check for ketones, have insulin and wait before exercising

 

INSULIN LEVEL

If you have too much insulin on board when starting to exercise your blood glucose level will rapidly drop. You will need to have a carb snack before exercising or you will need to stop to eat or drink during the exercise.

 If you have high blood sugars before starting exercise you don’t have enough insulin on board. It makes it difficult for glucose to get to your muscles so you will not do well at exercise and you will have even higher blood sugars afterwards.

 If you are between 5-10mmols you will be able to access body fat for fuel and keep your blood sugars stable.

 AVOIDING LOWS AFTER EXERCISE

  • Test before and after exercise
  • Keep a log book so you can see what you did last time you exercised
  • Have some glucose and snacks with you
  • Talk to your diabetes team about lowering insulin and increasing carb before and after exercise
  • Strenuous or long duration of exercise can cause delayed hypos, often during the night
  • Don’t forget to drink! Talk to your diabetes team about sports drinks and their appropriate use

GOOD RECOVERY DRINK RECIPE:

trim milk / 2 spoonsful of skim milk powder / 2 spoonsful of flavouring e.g. Nesquik

shake it up and drink it down within 30 minutes of finishing exercise. It will replenish your energy stores really quickly and help prevent hypos later.

GOOD REFERENCE SOURCES

John Walsh author of “Pumping Insulin” has excellent exercise notes in this book for people with type 1 diabetes. He has type 1 himself and is on a pump but the exercise principles apply if you are on a pump or daily injections

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