Playing Sports with Diabetes

Playing Sports with Diabetes

Want to learn more about Type 1 diabetes and sports participation? Here are some suggestions from

There are many studies that highlight the positive effects of exercise on glucose levels for diabetic patients. Physical activity can help the body produce and use insulin better, and helps get glucose into the muscles where it can be used. In addition, it can help someone keep a healthy weight level, improve his or her confidence and have beneficial effects on muscles, heart, mood and more. While playing sports with diabetes is advantageous in many ways, it is important to keep a few things in mind if you plan on engaging in exercise.

Sometimes, blood glucose levels can drop while exercising or just after engaging in physical activity, causing hypoglycemia. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if Type 1 diabetes and sports participation are a part of your life:

  1. Always check your glucose level before you begin exercising.
  2. If your blood sugar is low before physical activity, or you have a history of your blood glucose dropping during/after exercise, be sure to eat a snack beforehand. This could be something simple such as nuts, granola, peanut butter and crackers, etc.
  3. Keep a medical bag of supplies nearby so you can check your blood sugar when you need to. Also, be sure to keep glucose tablets, hard candy, juice boxes, granola and other snack options on hand. Last, remember exercise can affect blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours so you will want to keep an eye on it.
  4. Inform your exercise or sports team partners so they know what signs and symptoms to look for. In addition, educate them on ways to help you bring up your blood sugar if the level does drop.

For children, this can be a lot to remember so it is important to have a family member or guardian to be educated on physical activity for children with Type 1 diabetes, and its effect on glucose levels.

Now that you know more about playing sports with diabetes, you may be wondering what are good exercise options for you or your child. For some people, physical activity will mean joining a gym or sports team, but there are many other ways to get exercise throughout the day. Here are a few ideas:

  • Walking or biking to a nearby store or friend’s home
  • Gardening or landscaping
  • Hiking with your pet or friends
  • Powerwalking in a nearby mall
  • Using free weights in your home while watching television
  • Cleaning your home
  • Vacuuming
  • Taking a nightly walk with your pet
  • Playing tag with your children after dinner
  • Using a stationery bike or treadmill in your home

Mix up your exercise routine in order to stick with it, and consider exercising in ten minute segments throughout the day instead of one longer segment. Numerous recent studies show that exercising in ten-minute spurts offers the same health benefits as exercising for 30 minutes straight.

Want to learn more about Type 1 diabetes and sports participation? Be sure to visit for quick and easy exercise ideas, and to also learn how diet affects blood glucose levels.

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