What it means to workout with type 1

Me and My friend Jamie at the JDRF Walk for a Cure 5K

Planning, and lots of it. Type 1 Diabetes  complicates everything, but especially things that require physical activity. While you can plan all you want sometimes that still is not enough, low’s happen. There is nothing more frustrating that really getting in the groove of a great workout and hitting that sweet spot to only start feeling low and have to stop to treat. There is also something that feels very wrong about eating or drinking something that has the fast acting carbs in it to either keep you stable or bring you back up when you are working out(for me anyways it does). I am still new to this game being diagnosed as an adult at 27 just two and a half years ago.

When I first started working out with type 1 it was (and still can be) very scary. I was in a swimming for fitness class at school 3x a week. These classes would drop my bg an average of around 100 points then. I have never been much of a breakfast eater and for this I had to eat to prepare my body. (I was not pumping at this point) This would usually involve about 45 to 60 medium and slow acting carbs and then depending on my glucose level right before possibly another 15ish. Even now that I am pumping I still have to “pre-game” and depending on what I’m doing take in additional carbs as I'm working out. Low’s still happen from time to time, its just the nature of diabetes. EVERYTHING effects your bg and there is  no magic formula to get it right every time when it comes to anything.

Some of the tools that can help are things like a Continuous Glucose  Monitor system. It will alarm if it thinks you are dropping to fast or if you are low. The problem is that these are very, very expensive and even if your insurance covers them(which mine doesn't) they may not cover the reoccurring monthly charges for sensors that you wear. The systems themselves range around a few thousand dollars and then the sensor’s cost around $60 each. These are only FDA approved to wear for 3-7 days depending on the brand. Your alternative is just to do extra checks and use more of those also valuable glucose strips which cost about $1 each. While it is a much cheaper alternative I go through about 300 a month. Thankfully most insurances do cover these! But they also limit them(which makes no sense to me, come on really who wants to test more than they have to) You can also use products like gel’s and glucose tabs to help maintain your glucose level while working out. Its all a balancing act on a fine tight rope.

Now that I am doing longer workouts and preparing for my half marathon in June I am working on fine tuning my “plan”. Unlike being in a gym I have to be able to carry everything I might need when I do outside run’s. This can get interesting. I need to purchase one of the many belts available that can give me a place to store everything but on a students budget it’s not happening right now. So if you see me running and I stop and dig a meter out of a pocket or my bra feel free to laugh….there is no telling what else I have stored in there. Smile

While working out with diabetes is a challenge it is completely doable. You can always work with your doctor, nutritionist or certified diabetes educator to help you fine tune things. Don’t let diabetes stop you. Hit the pavement!

"Success is a journey, not a destination."
Ben Sweetland

Peace, Love and Happy Blogging


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