I have been active my whole life… As a teen I wrestled all through high school and played baseball. I was diagnosed with Type I when I was 24. I am now 28. I have tried and failed dozens of times to get up and get active. I feel that Diabetes has cut my stamina in half compared to what I was able to do before… Any suggestions?

I'm like you, only 30 years earlier: played football all through high school, and wrestled early on as well; then, dx'ed at 23 out of the blue with T1. Hit me totally by surprise as there is no history whatsoever in my family of diabetes of any sort. Oh, well...

You said, "I feel that Diabetes has cut my stamina in half compared to what I was able to do before..."

Tell us more about this. Are you overweight? Is your BMI in the low 20s, or higher? What is it that you have done to get active, and then failed at?

Personally, I ride a bike. And I can tell you that I have seen so many instances where people I know have lost incredible amounts of weight, JUST BY RIDING A BIKE! Most recently, I was talking with one of the artists I work with who just a couple of years ago weighed 225 pounds. He now weighs 140 pounds, and it is all because of the bike. Just this past weekend he finished 10th overall in the GC in a three day stage race here in SoCal (and it was pouring rain when they raced, so no easy feat!).

Sure, not all of us are going to become racers like Lino is now, but hell, it certainly can't hurt to jump on a bike and pedal damn it! *

* - Niner bikes puts this on the top tube of all their bike frames, just as a subtle reminder -- you know, just in case you should forget. :)

You might wanna give it a go. If you feel uncomfortable going out on your own, then find a group in your area. And maybe get yourself a RoadID, too. I always wear one (even when I'm not on the bike).

In any case, it can't hurt to try, especially since you said you have failed so many times over the past four years. As mentioned, I have seen success -- real success! -- via this two-wheeled route. Besides, it's fun to ride a bike. :)


I think sometimes it helps to be doing something you enjoy (walking, running, riding, hiking, swimming, gym workouts/weights) rather than something you are forcing yourself to do. It also helps to have a goal - (run a 10k, hike the 14k foot mountain, swim a mile) and build from there (marathon, masters swim meets, etc.) Another thing that i have found that helps is having a "spark" to re-light the fire inside (which I'm sure you had as a wrestler), whether that's being a role model for others with diabetes, having (or knowing) a child diagnosed with diabetes, or just setting a goal and achieving it. While I've been active for my roughly 35 of living with diabetes - I have done things because of my diabetes that I probably wouldn't have done if I wasn't a diabetic (4 marathons, 2 Ironman races) - and all of those in the last 6 years. Final thought - are there others that you know (maybe even other diabetics) that you can involve that might help hold you "accountable" (i.e., we're running at 7am - Steve will be there - I better be too). Remember exercise is a key to managing your diabetes - good luck and enjoy!

Hi Andy I guess I would start with a gluten free diet, then see how your energy is. Take care bob

I understand your frustration. I was a runner and after some time "off" the return to running has been difficult - I have not yet been able to come near to what I was able to do just 5 short years ago. One key to success I'm finding is to remember, that was yesterday...this is today. I have to stop looking back at what I "used to" be able to do and simply work on today and being at least a little better than yesterday.
I find that when my sugar levels are a bit out of whack, I have a LOT less energy and I move much slower. Instead of letting it get to me, I use this "slow down" as a reminder that what fuels I put in my body DO make a difference! I make better choices on what I put into my body the next day and remind myself how important working out is to keeping sugar levels where they should be.
By the way, I was diagnosed with type 1...wait, type 2....wait, we're not sure what category you fall into, less than a year ago. I am 52 years old and am in better shape/health than I think I've ever been in. Exercise is a part of my "prescription" and I treat it with the same necessity as I do my medicine. Some days are harder than others...but honestly I think that has more to do with getting older than diabetes. You are getting older - things change. Embrace the changes and become the best you that you can be TODAY! I will never be 18 again...and I couldn't be more thankful for that.
Being diabetic can be a pain in the rear - or simply one more hurdle that you conquer. I may never beat diabetes, but I promise - diabetes will never beat me.
Go conquer today!

Don't give up I am a 56 year old type 1, I raced in the World Master in Canada last year in Nordic skiing- Skate skiing finished 28th in the World, I also ride long distance Road cycling. I will be in Utah next weekend for a bike race, I am enjoying life to the fullest Test -Test -Test. Fueling is huge and if you do not fuel right you will Bonk it take time to figure it out, Just don't give up.

I was always active as well, gymnastics, track, and then I started bodybuilding at age 17. I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic at age 24. As far as I know, there are no type 1 diabetics in my family. I was curious if any of the other athlets, who became diabetics in their 20s, if they had ever used steroids. As far as having little energy,something that helped me a lot was getting better control of my blood sugars.

what have you done between 24 and 28? Sports, especially wrestling in high school, build incredible endurance, and while you can still be one heck of an athlete at 28, its not quite the same as when you're lose it if you dont use it.

there isnt really much of any information to go on here. you mention two sports that involve a social component, so maybe you need a workout partner? that would give you the sense of accountability to keep you in the game.

if its BG, make sure you are well under control....high BG makes you tired, and low can make you feel weaker or scatterbrained.

if its just stamina, start at your half, and set reasonable, and attainable goals for what you want to do, whether its running a mile farther over x amount of time, or playing a sport longer. the stamina will build.

I was in the same boat. X-C/wrestling/track varsity letter in high school discovered beer and redheads in college and post college and when I started running again at 26 I was diagnosed as a T2 diabetic. being away from running was a bigger factor than diabetes. find a sport that you love doing and start out slow. consistency is key as you train more the easier it will be and you'll start seeing results. good luck and have fun out there

Since you were a wrestler, you might want to try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; lot of similar elements. If you enjoy it then it is a self-motivating sport. Everything you do to build strength and stamina will benefit you in BJJ. I know for me, I need that element of competition to keep my diet and exercise regimen intact. I'm 42 (type 1) and in the best shape I've ever been in.

At 28, with a background in wrestling, you've got youth on your side. As for stamina, having someone trying to tap you out may help to you to find it. It works for me . . . that and a CLIF bar before a workout. :)

First off, get your thyroid tested and make certain that your lab uses the new standards for the acceptable level of TSH, which is below 3.0 because autoimmune diseases tend to cluster - especially, Celiac, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Type 1 Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I was fortunate, as you are, to have been athletic. I danced when I was younger and into my 50's. Then, I grew an adrenal tumor and developed Cushing's disease because of the excess cortisol the tumor was cranking out. A Cushing's patient puts on extraordinary amounts of weight from eating next to nothing, and I was "lucky" to develop the associated muscle wasting and tendinopathy. Post surgery, four years ago, my husband had to lift me out of bed, my mother brought over her walker, and I had to lift my legs into the car to drive.

Then, I had an autoimmune explosion since the tumor that was providing enormous amounts of steroids was removed. I looked very lupusy at the time.

After the autoimmune event settled down, I convinced my husband to join the gym with me, because I did not want to stay disabled.

It was exhausting, painful, and slow...but my physiatrist told me that my progress would be slower than an obese person of the same age who had never exercised in their life because of the damage Cushing's had done.

Jan. 2009, I started researching some of my symptoms and finally by June, I was very aggressive in getting my Endo to test me for diabetes. I felt I had latent autoimmune diabetes, LADA, and fought for testing. Guess, what, I was LADA.

So, three years later, I am 58.5yo. I am the thinnest I have been in 20yrs, my bg continues to be normal on an uber low carb diet a la Bernstein plus exercise. My dh went from a couch potato to training for a 5k. I am very proud that I am a Zumba queen and am front row center in a class of 50-60 people. I am in the early stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis, but the endorphins released during Zumba where I burn about 800 calories an hour numb the pain and ensure good bg.

I MOVE and dance hard to music my 17yos listen to. Before my class was cancelled, I also did hip-hop. I don't look my age, and my Zumba instructor wss shocked to learn how old I was...saying, "You sure don't move like you are 58yo."

So, both my Endo and the physiatrist love the happy ending and live in fear that I will quit exercising. I love to dance so much that I will push my body like a crazy woman, but it's all paying off because I get to wear clothes that few women my age can wear and get buy with it.

If I didn't push myself as a dancer before this happened, I would have quit at the first ache, and I would not be able to learn movements. Go back to doing what you enjoy and have a passion for. Last year, I was granted a scholarship to attend ballet class for adults. I was afraid to do the first plie in case I couldn't, but even in my advancing age, in spite of the layers of medical problems, my body came back - not to where it was at 20yo, but ahead of anyone who is anywhere near my age.

Don't give up, now. Buy some cool dry wicking gym wear, new high tech shoes, and start going to a class at the gym. My husband and I talk weights and reps...It's so funny. He's 61.5yo and doing 275lbs on a leg press.


Wow, that's quite a story Sheila; you are a tough one. Great point about testing for thyroid issues. That's a very common problem.

Hi Andy -

How are you doing in adjusting to having diabetes? Are you on a pump? Are your A1C values 7.0 or lower?

My experience is that when A1C or BG is high for a while, I don't feel like doing too much. unfortunately it is had to control the roller coaster that is diabetes.

Some days my blood sugars are great and I feel great, other times BG gets away from me and I feel terrible?

Stick with it and it will get better. Exercise is really great from your BG and your mental outlook.

Good luck!

Well, Andy, looks like everyone has been giving you some great advice and tips. I love sports and have always been very active. In fact, it was in the middle of college soccer season when I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The doctor told me what I had and said that I might not be able to have kids. The only question I had was, "Can I play soccer?" 15 years later, I have found that exercise is the key to keeping my sugars balanced and to my really feeling good. The three key elements are: insulin, food, and exercise. If any one of those is out of whack, I just can't function. So it looks like all the advice everyone has given about finding a sport that you like, finding a partner to exercise with, etc. is a really great start.
A weight trainer I had in the Dominican Republic said that as a Type 1 Diabetic, anaerobic exercise would be most effective (even more effective than aerobic). I haven't been able to find definitive studies showing that one is better than the other for Type 1ers. But here are a couple of interesting articles I found:
Research shows that a combination of anaerobic and aerobic exercise produces the best results in reducing our hemoglobin A1C values
Time Health: The Best Exercise for Diabetes
Benefits of anaerobic activity (strength training)