If you learn to do it right, being active can actually help you manage your diabetes! If you play in a team sport, tell your coach you have diabetes, and your parents should tell the coach how to spot and deal with low blood sugar. Have candy or juice on hand with you at all times, in case you have low blood sugar, and check your blood sugar before you start.
No matter you are diabetic or not, exercise is important to you. It trains up your muscles and organs. For diabetics, exercise helps lower blood sugar level and keeps it under control.
Exercising is fun and gives you better mood, which helps you take better care of yourself. And, for many kids, the more they exercise, the less insulin they need.
You do not have to exercise a lot, 20 minutes per day will help keep your heart, cholesterol and blood pressure healthy. So start this habit and get moving now!
What kinds of exercises can I do?
There are lots of ways to exercise – it doesn’t always mean you have to go out and run many miles, join a gym or play on a sports team.
Here are some ideas for exercises:
- Dancing with your friends
- Interactive video games
- Martial arts like Karate or Tae Kwon Do
- Taking a walk with your family
- Cleaning your room or helping to do housework
Managing your diabetes
Since exercise increases your sensitivity to insulin, you have a bigger risk for a low after exercise. However, you can prevent hypoglycemia during and after exercise with a little planning. Talk with your doctor to decide whether you should change your insulin dose when you exercise.
Consider the last time you took insulin because you may be at the peak during your activity, and doing injections may put you at greater risk for a hypo.
Check your blood glucose before you exercise. If it is low, take a snack and wait until your blood sugar rises. For some people, you still have to take a snack even your blood glucose is not low. It all depends on your activity and how your body reacts to the activity.
If it’s extremely high, check for ketones. If ketones are present, don’t exercise. If you have ketones and exercise, your ketones levels may get even higher and you could develop diabetic ketoacidosis.
Keep a bag of supplies close by. You should include snacks for both cases of hypoglycemia and hypoglycemia, for example:
- Glucose tablets
- Hard candy
- Juice boxes
- Crackers and cheese/ Granola bar/ Other healthy snacks
- A big bottle of water
- Blood glucose meter and supplies
If you have been exercising for more than an hour, remember to take a short break, eat a snack and check your blood sugar level.
Keep checking your blood glucose after exercises. This is important because the effects of exercise on your blood glucose can last for up to 24 hours.
Let your teammates, coach know about your situation, tell them the signs when you start to go low, and also what to do to help you.
Always wear your medical ID bracelet/necklace (call HKJDA if you don’t have one!)