The Best Prescription for Diabetes: Exercise


type 1 diabetes, exercise, JDRF, blood sugars

If you’ve contemplated the value exercise adds to a diabetes management regime – double it, triple it – heck, quadruple it.  The inherent benefits of moving the body with diabetes are countless; I’m actually uncertain how people manage their disease without it.

The best prescription for T1D could be – exercise.

The body utilizes insulin more efficiently and muscles in action create positive momentum until the next day, when we feed it to the body again.  Sit in a car or an airplane for hours on end and watch as your blood sugars creep up with the lack of muscle engagement.

Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to correct them; it’s tempting to keep trying, but a simple walk across the airport or unloading the car at the destination serves to fix things up.  Continuous glucose monitors speak the truth, and pouring insulin into a stationary body is one of the most inefficient ways to manage this disease.

Feeling empowered to go for a run, hop on a bike or simply hitting the pavement or trail for a walk is an essential piece of living healthfully – especially when you have a diabetes diagnosis.


Setting an Exercise Goal

Most people kick-butt with goal setting, especially in the New Year; find something you’re interested in, bust out your credit card and sign up!

We get attached to ideas we’ve committed to complete.  You may have a lofty goal and that’s ok; heck, I signed up for a marathon when I was on six weeks of bed rest pregnant with my first daughter – and I did run it when she was seven months old.

Goals are incredible motivators.  They create forward momentum and an ‘I can do this’ mentality.


From Start to Finish

Give yourself plenty of time to figure things out so that you will have a successful experience.  An optimistic approach is a wonderful thing to have, but with T1D understanding how to be safe throughout training is vital.

Diabetes and Exercise, Your Arsenal for Safety

No goal is too small.  If a one-mile run sounds like a great place to start – do it.  It’s all relative to the person at hand, but I’m here to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT!

T1D definitely makes for a messier race with pockets full of everything, blood sugars fluctuating, and the brain focused on keeping it all aligned.  It gets easier, our bodies get smarter and we become accustomed to expectations, streamlining what works best.  There isn’t a cookie-cutter approach to managing blood sugars; tailoring a program to fit your needs will happen as you gain experience in your sport.

I’ve always been a runner but took up road riding a few years ago.  I signed up for and completed my 2014 goal – one of JDRF’s Ride to Cure Diabetes events: The Tour de Tucson.  Events like this are built to encourage people living with T1D to accomplish their aspirations with JDRF coaches and event support.

T1D, and exercise

Before the 104 miles…

T1D, Exercise

And after…

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