Exercise and Attempting to Manage Type 1 Diabetes

Hey Everyone! Just as a heads-up, I am going on a very long awaited skiing holiday on the 25th January 2022 for 2 weeks. So on the 31st January 2022 and 7th February 2022 won’t be any new blog posts! But on the 14th February 2022, I will be back posting every Monday!


Happy Monday everyone! I actually cannot believe we are already halfway through the first month, the time is already flying! 

I have had my first full week back outside post COVID and wow walking has never felt so good! Since recovering from COVID, I have had very little energy, I haven’t felt brilliant at all. So, I am trying to build my fitness up slowly which leads to this blog post. On the days were I felt that I had some form of energy during my isolation, I completed like 10–15-minute beginner Pilates classes, just from YouTube – they are linked below: 

Even after these sessions I felt utterly wiped of energy, so I knew this was going to be a long process! On the day I was allowed out, I went on a walk just a 3.5km walk; by the end of it I was struggling with tiredness and my blood sugars were not used to this kind of activity! After needing a much high basal rate due to being poorly, I was getting through insulin like there was no tomorrow and the second I started moving my body again, everything needed reducing drastically! 

I am now trying to build up my fitness again, not only as it does help my blood sugar management but also for my own wellbeing, if I force myself up and out of bed in the morning – it does do me a world of good, even if my whole body is screaming no at me! 

The types of exercise that I do have massive differences on my blood sugar levels which makes it so much more difficult to predict or manage at times. The types I participate in include: 

  • HIIT
  • Yoga/Pilates
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Spinning (indoor cycling) 

HIIT

So, I follow session plans from a membership! I would not have any motivation if I had to create my own classes! I love that each session is different, so it creates intrigue about what is going to be in each of the classes! I aim to complete about 3-4 sessions a week normally but at the minute I am pushing for 2-3 sessions! 

I am a member of Trtle, the link is here if you wish to have a look – these are my own opinions and not influenced at all. 

https://trtle.com/membership/

Now, HIIT workouts do weird and wonderful things to my blood sugars. It is highly frustrating as I cannot plan to complete a workout at 6am the next morning in case I have had a bad night of blood sugars and physically unable. Its annoying. But I have worked out that if I leave my basal rates (background insulin) at the same level then it tends to be okay. But if my blood sugars are 6 mmol/l or higher, my blood sugars will always increase, it will always creep out of my range. The hardest thing is trying not to rage bolus because in 3 hours’ time my blood sugars will be crawling on the floor and extremely difficult to manage.

But the post-workout blood sugars for the rest of the day will always be good! To be honest I am completing these workouts to help lose weight which can be extremely difficult. Monitoring blood sugars the whole times completing a workout can be extremely draining but also having to consume plenty of sugar just to keep the body functioning just seems pointless. If this describes your situation, I would advise that you speak to your diabetic team about altering basal rates prior to an exercise session! 

Yoga/Pilates

This is one of my favourite types of exercise! It is just so grounding and relaxing, yet you are working your body plus increasing flexibility. I find the yoga does not do much at all for my blood sugars but just does absolute wonders for my mental wellbeing! Especially in the summer months when I can complete these exercises outside! 

I find sessions on YouTube, my favourite is

https://www.youtube.com/c/yogawithadriene

Walking/Running

I don’t think we need anyone reminding us of what a difference that walking makes! Even just a 10-minute walk can make such a difference for me! I try to do at least 8000 steps a day but since starting a desk-job, I am finding that increasingly more difficult but saying that I try to get out for a short walk at lunchtime just to help with sitting still all afternoon.

Where walking is such an effective method for myself for reducing blood sugars, it takes a lot of monitoring even before I go to make sure that my bloods will stay in range for the duration of the walk.    Luckily Dexcom have introduced that Siri can read your blood sugars, so when walking I can just ask my phone and it will tell me which is a bonus! 

If we are going on a longer walk, like 5km or further I will always introduce a temporary basal rate on my pump about 1 hour beforehand to ensure my sugars won’t drop. This was advised by my DSN, I would advise that if you are thinking of doing something similar, please speak to your medical team first! 

Let alone my pockets stuffed full of sugar!! 

Now even though running is just a sped-up version of a walk, my bloods do the complete opposite! They always spike during/immediately post run due to the adrenaline being realised!  Fighting to resist the temptation of a rage bolus is tough but I always know my sugars will drop over time! 

Spinning (Indoor Cycling)

I love cycling, always have done and always will! Back in 2016 I cycled from my home in Warwickshire, UK to Paris, France for JDRF! It was over 400 miles in 5 days, and we raised over £2,500! 

But due to an exisiting shoulder injury which has got increasingly worse over the past couple of months, I cannot ride on the rode anymore due to the vibrations that pass through the shoulder. So, I have started spinning instead! I follow a spin glass at my local gym which is absolutely brilliant. Does absolute wonders to my sugars! I need to adjust basal settings due to the vigorousness of the exercise and ensure I am monitoring my sugars to have a quick sugar hit if I need it, but Dexcom makes that so easy to do! The next day I still reap the effects on my blood sugars! 

If you want to start getting into exercise properly and are a bit scared or worried, speak to your DSN first as an insulin adjustment may be required. But a list of accounts I advise to follow who are diabetic and exercise crazy are:

Diabeteswithmilly 

Milly is completing a Sport and Exercise Physiology Masters degree at the minute so is full to the brim with up-to-date information! Everything is documented on Milly’s page so if you aren’t following already you are definitely missing out! 

Diabeticbeckyfitness

Becky’s diabetic/fitness account is brilliant! She has been a diabetic for nearly 18 years now and has so much info to give about managing diabetes whilst at the gym, so any questions forward them to her! 

Diabeticsoph 

If you wanted to more contemporary styles of exercise then please check out Sophies account! I will draw your attention to her most recent dancing video because she is very talented! How someone cannot rip their wired cannula’s out when dancing on the pole is just incredible and I think needs a round of applause because sometimes I can’t walk past a door without doing that! 


Just find out what type of exercise works for you and have a conversation with your DSN, they will be able to correctly advise you on adjustments that need to occur for any background insulin! But most importantly have fun because that is what exercise is all about! 


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