The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that children with type 1 diabetes should have at least 1 hour of physical activity each day. Adults aren't off the hook either. The ADA says that adults with type 1 diabetes should get 150 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity per week, spread over at least 3 days. So, no going more than 2 days in a row without being active!
Of course, some people may have physical issues that make it hard to move so much. But you owe it to yourself to speak with your diabetes care teamDiabetes care teamYour diabetes care team may include a primary care doctor, a diabetes and hormone doctor (endocrinologist), a registered nurse, a diabetes educator, a dietitian, a heart doctor (cardiologist), a foot doctor (podiatrist), an eye doctor (ophthalmologist/optometrist), a kidney doctor (nephrologist), a dentist, a pharmacist, and a mental health professional. about safe ways to be as active as you can. There are also some important steps for you to take to help keep your blood glucoseBlood glucoseThe main sugar found in the blood, and the body’s main source of energy. and other diabetes issues under control when you get active.
Not a jock? Don’t like team sports? Don’t worry. There are lots of other fun ways to be active, such as walking or dancing. Walking can be a great way to get moving, especially if you’re not used to being very active.
An experienced walker can walk 1 mile in 10 to 12 minutes. A pace of 4 miles per hour (or 15 minutes per mile) is a good goal to work toward. If you’re not used to walking, it may take a while to get that fast. At first, it may take 30 minutes to walk a mile, but that’s okay. Enjoy it!
Your diabetes care team can help you create a physical activity plan that’s safe and comfortable. As you get more fit, the plan will need to be freshened up to keep it both interesting and challenging.
Nearly any activity lasting 30 minutes or more will affect blood glucose. That’s why you should check blood glucose before, during, and after being active. From this, you can learn how certain activities affect your blood glucose.
Before exercise – always test blood glucose levels before exercise
During exercise – it may be necessary to test during activity, especially if you’re exercising for a long time. A snack may be needed during exercise if blood glucose levels are low
After exercise – exercise generally (but not always) lowers blood glucose, so it is a good idea to test afterwards, too. Blood glucose levels can go too low if you exercise for long periods or on an empty stomach
Remember to keep an eye on your feet! Download foot care for people with diabetes
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It’s smart to have a fast-acting carbohydrate snack or drink on hand if you start to feel like you have low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) during physical activity. You should stop what you’re doing and have a sports drink, fruit juice, glucose tablet, or hard candy before you resume.