How to Avoid the Hurdles of Hypo's and Hyper's- During Training (Part 2)

Avoiding diabetic hypo and hyper glycemia during training is a tricky business. But as previously stated, it is best to begin preparing to avoid them before the event- not just when you start the exercise. In this blog I'll be giving the example through the lens of my sport of sprinting in athletics. But I've found that these are good principles to follow during most types of exercise.

Hypoglycemia occurs when people with diabetes do not have enough sugar in their blood stream. It is especially dangerous during exercise because the demand for sugar from the muscles to make energy increases. Hyperglycemia is the other extreme where there is too much sugar in the blood stream. This means that there is not enough sugar available to be used to make energy. And the body has to look to other means for energy production.

Part 1 of  'How to Avoid the Hurdles of Hypo's and Hyper's Prior to Training', was all about how food and blood sugar regulation plays a massive part in avoiding hypo's and hyper's during exercise. 10 minutes or so before starting exercise I test my blood sugars again. If they're high (over 13.0 mmol) I would use my usual ratio to correct.  But if it's less than 20.0 mmol, I drop 1 unit off. The reason for this being that my blood sugars drop like a stone when correcting and exercising.

However, if you are literally having a hypo when you test then use a fast acting sugar such as Lucozade energy to get them back up. And DO NOT TRAIN until they're at a safe mmol for you. If my blood sugars are on their way down- say less than 7.0 mmol I take on a fast acting carb again, such as Lucozade so as to counter act the hypo before it happens. Although this is not always successful, so if you feel like you're going to go hypo then treat it.

It is a good idea to keep testing your blood sugars throughout exercise. But something to be mindful of is that different types of exercise have differing effects on the body. Again, if I use the example of sprint training to illustrate my point. These examples are based on a typical blood sugar of 7.0 mmol-

  • Sprinting (running distances up to 400m) - Sessions involving short bursts of energy maintain blood glucose, but the longer the distance the more they drop
  • Continuous running (400m +) - Blood sugars slowly drop
  • Weightlifting (power lifting) -  Drops my blood sugars quicker and lower than any other exercise, although machine weights do not have such an adverse effect
  • Ply metrics (bounding and jumping) - Slowly drops blood sugars over a prolonged period of time
  • Circuit training -  Drops blood sugars quickly due to the continuous nature of the exercise

The best way during training to avoid high and low blood sugars is to get to know the effect that they have on your blood sugars. This way you can best plan how to manage them. Always have both sugar and your kit on you during exercise as blood sugars can change quickly and their may not be time to go in search of either. It is also important for me to mention that it can be dangerous to exercise with blood sugars over 13.0 mmol. As it encourages your body to break down muscle/ protein for energy. If unsure always check with your specialist nurse before attempting strenuous exercise.

Look out for next week's instalment of how to prevent hypo's and hyper's post exercise!


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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