Diabetes and Sport

Exercise is healthy and fun. You make friends and it helps you to feel good. If you have diabetes, it is even more healthy. Doing sports makes your insulin work better and you also need less of it. Besides, your glucose is often easier to regulate. But you will inevitably have “a bad game” every once in a while. Therefore we tell you what it takes to combine diabetes and sporting activities.

Insulin and sports

When you exercise you use energy. This energy reaches your body via glucose. And glucose needs to be well regulated. This is done primarily with insulin. You have to have enough of this in your body, not too little or too much. This means that exercising cannot go without training your diabetes regulation properly. If you learn this well, even with diabetes you can become a champion in any type of sports. Take a look for instance at professional football player Jan-Arie van der Heijden, or former top volleyball player Bas van de Goor.

True, it takes some doing. People without diabetes stop almost completely with producing insulin during exercise. This only leaves a small amount of basic insulin in the blood. If you have diabetes it doesn’t work this way because you cannot just shut off the insulin from your pump or syringe. And during an important match you do not want to fall victim to a hypo. You might thing you’d be better off by “being high” in your glucose level. But this, combined with having little insulin with you, means your muscles don’t get enough glucose and acerbate. Also, your brain works less well, and you also need that when you exercise.

What you can do however, is use another type of insulin, or another moment of injection. If you use a pump, you can turn it off beforehand or re-adjust your pump wizard. You can also eat or drink a little extra. There is a number of possibilities and what is best differs from one person to the next. Therefore you have to measure. Make notes on how intensive you have exercised and what this meant to your diabetes. In your Diabeter team you learn what works best for you.