Exercising with Type 1 is a learning experience. Everyone's blood glucose responds differently to different types of exercise, and can even vary at different times of the day. Pretty much just like everyday life with T1.
Note that this guidance is NOT medical advice. If you have concerns about your health or management talk with your health care team.
Here are the things we find are a good starting place if you are just getting into exercise with T1.
- If you do not have access to CGMS (Continuous Glucose Monitoring System) test your blood glucose (BGL) at least twice, 15-30 minutes apart before you exercise. This allows you to know which way your BGL is doing. If it is heading down, make sure you take on carbohydrate. If it is rising, at least until you understand how you react, maybe not take on carbohydrate, and definitely don't inject unless your BGL is making you uncomfortable.
- Even if you have access to CGMS it may be worthwhile blood testing for a while to make sure you understand the lag between BGL and CGMS readings, especially if you are doing long endurance events. Our experience in events like the Murray To Moyne cycling relay have shown this lag can be extreme.
- If in doubt you are having a hypo test your BGL. Don't rely on CGMS. Hypo and exhaustion can often feel the same.
- Make sure you monitor your BGL closely for at least the next 24 hours. Your muscles will replenish their stores and likely cause a drop in BGL this is especially true after consecutive days of exercise and you may need to lower your basal dosing to compensate. Consider taking slow carbs on board to prevent overnight hypos. Something with a high fat content (chocolate milk is good, but whatever you enjoy and works for you) will help keep you from going hypo.
- Go easy on yourself. You won't get it right all the time, just like very day. But you will get the experience you need with YOUR Type 1.