What Are The Highs And Lows Of Exercise And Diabetes?

Although I do my best to talk about the positive side of living with the condition, my diabetes has its ups and downs like anybody else's, and today was definitely a more challenging day as far as sport and diabetes is concerned. For those people who exercise regularly and have diabetes, you'll probably know that exercise is most effective when your blood sugars are in the right range- not too high and not too low. This is also the safer way to exercise too. But what happens when your blood sugars are outside of that range and you still have a training session to get through?

To talk a little bit more about blood sugars during training- if they are too high it makes it harder for your muscles to work effectively. From a human perspective running when your blood sugars are high is like trying to run through quick sand, even at the start of your session and only gets worse. Training high is certainly something that I do not condone, along with training low. Which is even more dangerous, as it puts you at risk of collapsing because the demand for sugar from your brain and your muscles when you're exercising is just to much for your body to cope with. Low blood sugars during training are particularly important to look out for/ test for, because the symptoms of- an increased heart rate, shakiness and sweating are masked by the feeling of exertion associated with exercise.

Today was a normal day as far as training preparation was concerned, I had a breakfast of low GI carbohydrates to help me recover from the previous day's session, and to keep my blood sugars even up until training. Which they were, as my blood sugar levels were between 7 mmol and 9 mmol all day, until it came to leave for training and I became hypo. I treated the hypo immediately with fast acting sugars and then something carb based and tested 15 minutes later, to see that they were going back up. I waited the appropriate amount of time to make it safe to drive to training, testing my blood sugars before driving. But a while after I arrived at the track I felt the sudden racing of my heart normally associated with a hypo, only to test and find it had dropped again. Treating the hypo again and reducing my background insulin rate, I was forced to watch my training group warm up without me as I waited for my blood sugars to go back up.

For some unknown reason however, I experienced another hypo before my blood sugars started staying within a safe range to exercise. When I was safely able to start my training session, my body already felt exhausted and all of the sugar and carbs that I'd had to digest to treat the hypos and make it safe to train started behaving like they wanted to make another appearance. So I was forced to pull out of the rest of the training session. This is something that nearly never happens, so whilst I was incredibly frustrated at the time, it's something that I have to take on the chin. But that acts as a stark reminder of the things you have to think about when exercising and living with the condition of diabetes. But tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to get my blood sugars right and train again. There are many hurdles with diabetes and sport, but it's the getting back up and carrying on that's the measure of an athlete- not just the blood sugar level.


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Meet The Author

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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