As a type 1 for over 30 years, I’m curious if there are better times to exercise than others with diabetes? I struggle to keep my blood sugar in a good range like many. Also, any weight lifters out there?
I have found that I have best control if I exercise mid-day or early afternoon.
I find that morning is very difficult. Exercise combined with Darn Phenomenon can be a bad combination. I life to lift weights as well. There is a group on weightlifting that you may find interesting.
I like the afternoon too but have been doing mornings for a while. It's more challenging and my BG seems to fly around a lot more, which sort of trashes some of the "yay, endorphins". I've been doing P90X3 which involves weights and more, but for the most part anaerobic, with cardio components mixed in too. It helps that the duration is pretty short, 30 minutes. Afternoons are often pretty busy with errands and teen chauffeuring that kind of gets in the way of that. I am thinking I'll get back to running in the evening in the spring which is where I've hit my best control.
I struggle with this also. My problem is finding the correct time based on my BG readings AND work that time around other commitments. When I exercise my BG numbers decrease significantly- I can drop 70 points in 30 minutes, and then the numbers continue to decrease for several hours. So I try to start at a higher number. I have also tried reducing my basal by 50% while and before exercising. Yesterday I bloused 1/2 for my breakfast.
I plan to exercise and when the time comes, my BG is too low and I don't dare go to the gym. Once I raise to an acceptable number, I have something else on my schedule. Tis a conundrum....
Whenever you can do it consistently.
I find that I have the easiest time controlling my sugars if I run late afternoons before dinner, however my schedule doesn't really allow that anymore so It's early mornings now. I had to experiment with taking some insulin and a few grams of carbs to keep my dawn phenomenon in check though, otherwise the early workouts only made it worse.
So find a time that you can workout on a consistent basis than if needed experiment with food intake and medication 'fine tuning' to get your numbers where they need to be. And keep in mind that anaerobic activity like weight lifting can actually raise your sugars
I have been to a few sport seminars for diabetics. what our doc told us there, was to try to work out with fasting blood sugars if possible. because if you have eaten before, food and mealtime insulin interfere with your blood sugar levels even more, and he adviced us to try to exercise with as little interfere as possible.
For cardio, I find first thing in the morning is optimal--no bolus insulin on board, and the dawn phenomenon counteracts basal insulin activity. I'm a bit more sluggish, but pushing myself in that context also feels good. The rest of the day, I'm fighting basal and leftover bolus insulin with glucose tabs.
But that was on injections, which I'm off of as of yesterday. I've just started a pump, it'll be interesting to see whether I can suspend basal and leave the pump at home during morning runs without going too high. I'll almost certainly be able to do that during non-morning runs/road bike rides/etc.
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My day is very crazy, juggling 2 boys' sports schedules year round while working full time. I make time to workout in the evening 8pm or even later. Not ideal but its when I am free. And I do think it has helped me with my morning numbers.
do you all find that intense exercise during the day can cause lows at night? i guess i'm speaking more to people with CGM's or people woken up by feeling hot.
Update: So I've been on the pump since November. For morning beach runs (5-6 miles, intensity varies based on whether higher tide pushes me onto softer sand, and how fast I run), I leave my full basal insulin running to counteract the dawn phenomenon. Actually, even if I sleep late, as long as I run before eating anything or injecting any bolus insulin, I'll do the same with the same results.
At any other time of day, I try to shut off my basal a few hours beforehand, and have bolus insulin out of my system, and still need just a little glucose tab upward correction to keep my BGs up. Sometimes I'll disconnect and leave the pump at home, sometimes I'll wear it, and turn basal back on halfway through the run (since it takes more than an hour to peak). For swimming I disconnect (my t:slim isn't designed to go in the pool), and I don't go too high, even in the mornings, I'll usually end up 120-140 at the end of a workout.
But I'm an unusual diabetic, either very long honeymoon LADA or, more likely, some MODY variant, and I do still make a buffer of endogenous insulin that acts very consistently. Without insulin it doesn't take much carb for me to hit high-200s, but with insulin I have a fairly easy time keeping my BGs in check.
I know we are all a little bit unique and different, and my experience may differ from yours, but my short answer to your question is it depends.
When I workout whether during the day or early evening, I find I can do aerobic exercise like a stationary bike or an elliptical or treadmill for upwards of an hour and as long as I eat a healthy snack with some carb combined with protein prior to bed, I don't have issues with lows at night. BUT the minute I add any weight training type of activity into it, I have had occasions of lows at night that have woken me up even if I've eaten decently before bed. Its the craziest thing, but I think it has to do with how our body burns energy differently depending on the type of workout.
I joined these forums because I struggle and become frustrated with finding what my balance is. My endocrinologist group is really good, and I've done a better job with my A1C numbers since I started to really take a look at all of this and made a commitment to figuring it out and all I can figure out so far is that exercise DEFINITELY makes a positive difference, but what I eat can swing things all over, so I am a continuing science project!