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  • Exercise & type 1 diabetes

    family on bike

    Key points:

    • Most people find physical activity improves their feelings of wellness and vitality. It also helps in managing stress.
    • Physical activity makes your body’s cells more sensitive to the action of insulin
    • Your body remains more sensitive to insulin for up to 24 hours after physical activity. You may need to reduce your post physical activity insulin and / or eat more carbohydrate following physical activity
    • The key to managing physical activity safely with Type 1 diabetes is to monitor your blood glucose frequently and use this information to adjust your food and physical activity accordingly
    • Avoid injecting pre-physical activity insulin into any area of working muscle (it may get absorbed much more quickly than usual if you do)
    • There are risks to physical activity. You should have a thorough medical check and consult with your diabetes specialist team before starting a physical activity routine

    Read below what one of our Youth leaders, Scott Pardington has to say about managing type 1 diabetes and his exercise regime:

    “To help with keeping active, I am keen member of the Mairangi Bay Surf Lifesaving Club, competing in surf boat rowing. This provided its own set of problems for diabetes as having five races with no set time interval between them led to my first season being a roller-coaster for my counts. However working with my medical team and talking to other people with diabetes, allowed me to find a routine that worked.

    As with everything related to diabetes, being prepared and telling those around you can make situations which could potentially be dangerous, a lot safer. With my rowing I would always tell my crew that I had diabetes and what to do in a case of a low as well as having low supplies in the boat. Doing this made me much more confident that if anything were to happen, I would have my crew to lean on and help me”.

    Keeping up a physical activity schedule if you have Type 1 diabetes is a challenge for your diabetes management skills. It helps if you start with a clear understanding of the interactions between insulin and physical activity. To read more about this, read more at  Diabetes New Zealand’s Physical Activity and type 1 diabetes page.


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