Sport is recommended for all people with diabetes because it brings a range of health benefits such as improved sensitivity to insulin, whether you take part in sport for competitive reasons, or purely for fun, it is a great way to stay healthy. Furthermore, it is now certain that sport can delay and even prevent the onset of some type II diabetes, but you should keep in mind that for people with diabetes whose pancreas makes almost no insulin (type I diabetes), no sports practice without notice and medical follow-up, as they need to maintain good control of their blood sugar, plan for, monitor, and react to changes in blood sugar levels that can happen because of different levels of exercise intensity and duration.
In this article we present to you 8 tips to make sure you are being safe while exercising.
- People with diabetes who take insulin or insulin secretagogues (sulfonylureas) are at risk for pre-exercise hypoglycemia. If glucose levels are less than 100 mg/dL, 1 hour before exercise/competition, a 15- to 30-g carbohydrate snack should be consumed, and glucose should be rechecked in 30 to 60 minutes. It is wise to have glucose on hand and companions informed of what to do if this happens.
- Avoid violent sports or intensive sports.
- At altitude, pay attention to the use of drugs intended to lower blood glucose when the muscles are at the same time subject to a lack of oxygen (the pressure of the oxygen decreases with altitude).
- We recommend jogging, cycling, running at low speed, noncompetitive tennis, knowing you need to take rest between efforts.
- There are personal adaptations depending on the condition of the arteries, kidneys, nervous system and more or less predictable individual variations in blood glucose levels.
- Individual reactions may differ from one person to another, especially as some people take food and drink for exercise, which varies in composition from one specialty to another.
- After exercise, you must re-hydrate quickly.
- Different sports can affect the body in different ways. For example, brisk walking and continuous jogging will usually lead to a reliable lowering in blood glucose levels. By contrast, sprinting and some upper body activities can initially lead to rises in blood sugar levels, which will come down if the exercise session is long enough. By testing your blood glucose levels around exercise, you can learn how different sports and session lengths affect your blood sugar levels.