Can you be more active on injections?

For those who have had pumps but are now on injections, do you find yourself more active? Did the fact that you wore the pump keep you from being active? I like my pump, but I find it bulky and in the way. Sometimes I feel like if I just did the 5 injections from a pen a day regimen as my endo said I’d have to do, I would be more incentive to just actually physically move, without a machine jarred into me. Point being, I feel like the pump’s being on me is what is actually keeping me from running, swimming, etc. Or would the spikes in glucose from injections make me feel too sick to actually be active. Comments, suggestions - thanks!

Hard to say. I suppose it depends what activities you’re into. I don’t pump… When I use injected bolus, I do find myself avoiding a great deal of physical exertion while I have a lot of “bolus on board” to avoid lows… So in that sense I don’t think shots are superior. I keep entertaining the notion of coaching a high school wrestling team someday, and for obvious reasons I don’t think a pump would be very compatible with that activity… Then again neither would injecting a bunch of insulin shortly before practice.

I don’t think using shots instead of a pump necessarily means you would have out of control blood glucose and “spikes in glucose” to make you feel sick-- I certainly don’t…

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The pump certainly gives you more options for varying your dosages to account for exercise. The relevant factor in comparing against basal-bolus MDI isn’t the “bolus” but the “basal.” Your only point of control with day-long insulin is that one shot (some people do two but the point is the same), versus being able to adjust it at will whenever you need to. Obviously having a pump physically attached is a personal issue. Swimming is more of a problem than other forms of exercise I should think, for obvious reasons, but there are people on TUD who manage it. Due to orthopedic issues I only bike ride now, and when I first started I had some awkwardness with the pump tubing, but it’s like getting a pump in the first place: you pretty quickly get instinctive about it.

But this bit is a little confusing:

The injections should be dropping your glucose, not spiking it…? Do you mean hypos? In any case, the problem with MDI and exercise is that you can’t, for instance, drop your basal rate in anticipation of exercise, or back it off when exercise is causing you to go hypo–it’s going to do whatever it’s going to do based on that daily dose.

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@DrBB makes a very good point here. I do MDIs and recently started yoga lessons. I am out of shape and the classes take a lot out of me. I experience big drops in BG and have to eat some carbs at least once during every class and then usually right afterward, too. Obviously it’s manageable but situations like this are making me think more about using a pump.

Yes, I meant lows. I had some nasty lows from 1994 - 2001, never needed 911 or ER care but got some huge drops. Now with the pump, I hardly experience hypos. Of course, I guess I could always disconnect my pump for certain activities.

My pump has not kept me from being active. Quite the contrary. MDI was a hard road to hoe, especially for activities such as going out in the wilderness alone. Very stressful and created problems. Going out alone with my pump is a piece of cake.

I have 37 years of experience to draw from, when making the above comments. 19 years of that is pumping.

I believe some of those who have very active girls or boys on the pump might be able to better speak to that. Maybe @Lorraine?

It doesn’t work that way for me. I find that exercise can drastically change my insulin sensitivity. If I use a long acting, basal insulin the consequence is that exercise is going to drop my BG. Once you have taken your basal insulin shot then to a certain extent whatever you want to do for the rest of the day has to be altered to take that insulin into consideration.

With the pump you at least have the option of changing/lowering your insulin rather than eating more. For me, trying to add carbs to cover exercise was/is always something of a hit or miss thing.

That fact is one of THE foremost reasons why I use a pump.

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Not my main reason for going to a pump, but certainly useful. On MDI, I split my basal injections, but even then, when I took that basal shot, I had to try and plan what I’d be doing that day – any spontaneous decisions to exercise or take a long bike ride were hazardous if not taken into consideration. The pump give me a lot more flexibility to exercise when the opportunity presents itself.


Yes, Caleb pumps and is very active, and his levels of activity can vary by season and sport. He uses the OmniPod which minimizes the cumbersome factor. I could definitely see how a tubed pump would be different, but as @irrational_John said, lots of people do it.

Of course pumping and being able to manage basal rates helps a great deal. It can also present complexity with certain sports, like swimming and contact sports if you need to disconnect. I know of athletes who use a tethered system to allow them to disconnect for periods without losing the background insulin during that time. For example, someone could split their basal insulin daily bt a lantus shot and regular basal delivery. This way when they disconnect, the lantus is still working, but not at full strength.

So much to consider, it’s almost a sport in and of itself!


It can cut both ways. Yes, the pod could be “easier” in some contexts. In others, I would expect it to be harder to work around simply because you don’t have the option to move it or detach it. The question which pops into my mind is what does one do with a pod when playing U.S. football? I imagine they are tough, but could they survive a head butt from a helmet?

Caleb does not himself play, but I do know young men who do and it can indeed pose the problem you identified. Some try to pad it, some strategically place it, and some do remove it and replace afterward - requiring a prescription change to ensure an adequate supply of Pods.

I don’t know which, but I’ve heard that Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (T1D) uses a pump off-season, but is disconnected during games. I imagine it would be impossible to work out using any sort of pump in pro football!

Not true. Here is one example.

Cool. I guess it is possible - perhaps it depends on position, and it’s harder for a quarterback (especially the most frequently sacked one in football! :slight_smile: )