Exercise And Type 1 💪🏻🐴
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am getting back into riding after pretty much a year out. I was anxious about getting back in the saddle as I imagined that as soon as I got my heart pumping, the hypos would kick in.
Hypos on horseback would not be ideal... At least with other forms of exercise, you can just stop and treat the hypo. With horse riding, you have to look after yourself as well at the half tonne+ animal you have in your care.
I've been surprised to have the absolute opposite happen when I exercise. I had a riding lesson the other day and checked my BG after I had finished expecting that I would be low.
My sugar level went through the roof... Horse riding is a lot more strenuous than people believe, so I didn't understand why my BG would go up. About 30 minutes to an hour after I had finished, it started to plummet again without the help of any Insulin.
I was quite puzzled by why this happened so I have been looking it up on Google.
This is the best explanation I could find from the Joslin Diabetes Centre:
'When you exercise your muscles need more glucose to supply energy. In response, your liver increases the amount of glucose it releases into your bloodstream. ... So if you do not have enough insulin available, your blood glucose levels can actually increase right after exercise.'
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should check your BG ASAP after finishing exercise and keep checking regularly throughout the next few hours.
As exercise draws on sugar reserves stored in the liver, as the body replaces the sugar to the liver, it takes it from your blood causing your BG to drop significantly.
If you do particularly strenuous exercise, it can take up to 7-8 hours for the body to return to normal, so lows are possible within that timeframe.
If I know I am going to be exercising, I will significantly reduce the bolus Insulin I have before, but try to be careful not to go too far the other way.
There are guidelines about what your blood glucose should be BEFORE you exercise:
- If your BG is LOWER than 5.6mmol/l - your sugar may be too low to exercise safely. Eat a small snack containing between 15-30g Carbs before working out.
- If your BG is 5.6mmol/l - 13.9mmol/l - this is a safe pre-exercise range.
- If your BG is HIGHER than 13.9mmol/l - this is a caution zone and your sugar may be too high to exercise safely. Check for ketones in your blood/ urine. If you exercise when you have a high level of ketones, you risk Ketoacidosis.
So, whilst exercise is a fundamental part of keeping healthy with Type 1, do so with caution!