Since I have been training for Kilimanjaro, many people have been asking me about what it is like dealing with exercise and diabetes. To be honest, besides dealing with eating specific food and diabetes, exercise is a close second or tie. It has been incredibly difficult training and dealing with blood sugars because as much as I try to pin point insulin ratios or timing, I haven't been able to figure it out successfully each and every day.
Now, I have had good days, where I can work out and keep my blood sugar within a decent range, but I also have days (a lot of days) where I go high or low after working out. It's funny because it seems like an easy thing, exercise lowers blood sugar, so why can't we just go work out after a meal or take our insulin pumps off? Well, as easy as it sounds it doesn't always work. I have tried going after a nice oatmeal breakfast, or I have tried turning off my pump, lowering my basal rates, eating right after my work out, all of these things I have tried, only to be defeated.
The other night my friend Mitch was over, who is also type 1. We got on the topic about working out since he has been going to the gym recently, in fact he went to the gym just before he visited me, but had to stop at home to treat a low. He was telling me how incredibly frustrating it can be to have to eat after a work out because once you go low there is no turning back, you have to treat it. It's hard because that little low voice in our head wants us to raid cupboards, but in reality we so badly just wish that we weren't low so that we didn't feel like we wasted an hour on that elliptical.
For me, I have not let diabetes stop me from working out. It was once recommended for diabetics not to do any physical activity and now we are climbing mountains. Even though I haven't seemed to find the perfect combination for keeping within a good range after working out, I know that it isn't just physical activity that fluctuates blood sugar. Every single day even when we're not moving around our blood sugars are bouncing all over the place. We just have to take it one day at a time and give ourselves credit for the small successes.