Different reactions to different activities... tips?

okay so whenever i exercise, my blood sugar either goes up or down. it's soo annoying. it also depends on what i'm doing. if i'm running or playing a team sport for example, it goes wayyyyy up. but then if i'm walking or just jogging, it goes wayyyy down. is it the stress level maybe? idk...

Hey Janie,

Exercising can be weird for me as well. One of my favorite activities, skiing, raises my blood sugar big time. I have been told that adrenaline is the cause of that. However, when the adrenaline wears off, I then drop pretty fast. I tend to ignore my readings while I am doing any kind of exercise, except lows of course. I test beforehand though and afterwards, and I just account for the exercise normally. I don't know if that is right or wrong though. 

yea that's what i thought, that it's the stress or adrenaline. i've found that running brings me up the most. especially when i run in the heat. i love skiing too but i haven't done it yet this winter so we'll see. i don't worry about my sugars either unless of course they are low or super high.

Maybe the heat is what's affecting your blood sugar and not so much the exercise.  Running is aerobic, so theoretically it should make your blood sugar drop, not rise, unlike anaerobic exercise.  Temperature can really mess with blood sugars and its effects are highly individualized.  For me, running in the cold causes me to drop a lot. 

Hi Janie,

There are some groups on Juvenation you might want to check for answers/tips (Athletes with Diabetes, Exercise & Fitness).  Here are a few threads I found that might have some answers for you.




There's a great book called The Diabetic Athlete by Dr. Sheri Colberg.  It has quick reference chapters explaining how different exercise affects blood sugar. 

What's probably happening when you run is your muscles are releasing sugar stored in them called glycogen.  So it shoots your blood sugar up.  Then usually a few hours later your blood sugar is lower than normal when your muscles use blood sugar to replace their glycogen stores.  The good news is that if you do the same exercise (using the same muscle groups) consistently your muscles will get more efficient and won't dump as much sugar when your work out.  Good luck figuring it out... I think exercise is the biggest X factor in managing diabetes.

Also the book "Think like a Pancreas" has a good section on managing blood sugar with athletics. I haven't read thru it recently, but the author (at T1D who was also an exercise physiologist) found that he had different BG reactions if he had basketball practice for 2 hours vs. a basketball game. Basically it comes down to doing a lot of logging of activity and checking of BG even up to 12+ hours after the exercise to understand how your body reacts. Then it is easier to develop a plan to prevent highs or lows.

Keep up the exercising though! So good for you, your body and your overall D management!

Exercise is definitely one of the harder things about diabetes. The best way to figure out what works for you is test, test, test. Over this past summer, I was running 6-8 miles and I would use 10-20 test strips during the course of the run. Because of that, I know that the first half hour or so of running, at a slow pace, will cause my blood sugar to hold steady - and then it will drop rapidly and continue to drop as i run. Then, when I stop running, my BG spikes back up significantly, and does not come down without a correction. However, the correction only needs to be about half of what I would normally use, or I will drop super low again. To take care of all that, I lower my basal rate to -80% when I start running, eat 30 g of carb every 30 minutes or so, and bolus for half the carbs i ate when i get home. 

If I run one mile, my sugar spikes like none other. It's the difference between sprinting - which is using mostly fast twitch muscle fibers, and jogging, which uses the slower twitching ones. For sprinting-type runs, I will raise my basal to 150%. When I rock climb, I usually hold steady while climbing and then spike afterword, but don't have to correct - my BG comes down on its own. Biking is like a fast endurance run for me, so I start out by lowering my basal (although not by as much) and take lots of carbs with me. I usually stick to fast acting carbs, cuz they're easier to carry, but it gets me in a definite roller coaster, where as something longer lasting would probably even my BG out a little, which would make me ride faster and better and feel better after the ride. 

Different things work for different people, though. Are you on MDI or a pump? If you're on MDI, you can change the amounts of carb and fast acting insulin. If you're on a pump, you can change carbs, fast acting, and basals to figure out what will work for you. Isolating the variables can help - just make sure you only change one thing at a time and you'll know which things worked and which didn't. And keep us updated on what you're learning about your body! I love getting tips for exercise that I haven't thought to try!