Getting regular exercise is a great way to stay healthy. It helps to prevent heart disease. It also can help to keep weight and blood sugar under control.
Many people with type 1 diabetes exercise every day. Both children and adults with type 1 diabetes compete in sports. Some are professional athletes. However, in a person with diabetes, exercise can lead to a steep drop in blood sugar levels. This condition is called hypoglycemia. To avoid this, you'll need to balance insulin and food intake with the amount of exercise you do. Dose and timing of insulin injections are very important.
Talk with your health care professional — or your child's — to come up with the best approach for your (child's) lifestyle.
Practice basic good exercise habits. In addition, take a few extra precautions for safe exercising.
- Work with your health care professional or team to determine what exercises are best for you or your child.
- Try to schedule exercise at the same time each day.
- Exercise an hour or two after eating. That's when blood-sugar levels are at their highest.
- Check blood sugar before and after exercise.
- If blood sugar is extremely high — 240 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or more — don't exercise until you check urine for ketones. Ketones are produced when the body makes emergency fuel because you are not processing glucose well.
- If blood sugar is low before or after exercising, eat an appropriate snack.
- Carry glucose tablets or a high-carbohydrate snack.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Wear well-fitting, comfortable footwear. It should be appropriate to the activity.
For certain people, and in certain circumstances, more safeguards may be needed. For example, if you have eye or kidney problems, it is critical that you choose activities that will help but not harm your body.
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