I am a type 1 diabetic. I use the insulin pump now. But when I was taking injections I had a tough time working out. First I would crash and then I would go high after the work out. I did some research and the reason was this:
You are taking two kinds of insulin: one long term and one short term. This type of insulin does not shut down when your body works out–it keeps on going. When you work out your body uses other channels to absorb glucose. This is why exercise is so beneficial to diabetics as it strengthens those alternative sources and also reduces insulin resistance. Anyway, when you work out, your body absorbs the glucose through these other channels and does not need the insulin. The problem is that the insulin is active in your system and is still drawing all of the available glucose as well–which causes you to crash. Insulin stays in your system, anywhere from 3 to 6 hours for fast acting and regular insulin to 8 to 24 for the long term insulins. So it is always working for you under normal days. When you exercise the use of glucose is sped up and so you begin to crash. (Clear as mud?)
So you are working out and you crash…even though you are supplementing with glucose, gatoraide, when you stop working out you find that you are high, why? Well, whenever you crash, your body responds by sending more glucose into the system from where the body has a reserve, the liver. You crash, the liver release extra to compensate. If you have already compensated, you get a double dose and a high blood sugar.
So how do you change this?? If you find out let me know. I am better, but still have not perfected a system yet.
When I took r and n, I waited to work out at a time when I knew that both r and n were not at their strongest in my system–somewhere at around 6 pm. I tested my sugar often, and I made sure not to begin unless my blood sugar was somewhere in the 140s. I would eat a snack 30 minutes before and bring my gatoraide. When I was done working out. I would make sure to test my blood sugar and eat dinner taking a dose of insulin with it.
Now that I am on the pump, I test my blood sugar and shut the pump off a full 30 minutes before I begin to work out. I do my workout–I still need some supplementation with glucose, but not as much. I still eat a snack before. When I am done. I wait until my heart rate is back to 119 and then turn my pump back on. I don;t seem to crash as much, and I don’t have the highs after the work outs like I used to either.
There is a really good book out there called The Diabetic Athlete. I highly recommend it. It has strategies and solutions for both Type I and Type II diabetes. But I also recommend that you also discuss these issues with your healthcare professional. They might also have some insight to help you out as well.
Good Luck, DD