Type 1 Diabetes can seem overwhelming — it requires continual monitoring and self-management. But diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from doing the things you love, like sports. In fact, the American Diabetes Association states that physical activity is beneficial in controlling blood glucose levels, keeping you physically fit, maintaining a positive attitude and improving self-confidence. Here are some things to consider when managing your diabetes:

  • Make sure to talk with a member of your diabetes team about appropriate insulin dosing when participating in sports and exercise.
  • Always wear a medical bracelet or necklace to alert others of your diabetes. The more people who know you have diabetes, the more who can help you when you need it.
  • Explain your condition to your teammates and coaching staff. Tell them how to help you if the need arises.
  • Always check your blood glucose before beginning to exercise. Keep in mind that the effects of exercise can be seen up to 24 hours after finishing your activity.


If your blood glucose is above 240 mg/dl, check for ketones. Never exercise when ketones are present. This could cause your ketone levels to increase and put you into a dangerous condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis.

An important thing to note is that blood glucose levels can actually increase with intense exercise. This is caused by stress hormones that are released in your body when exercise levels are high.


If your blood glucose is lower than 100 mg/dl before exercise follow these safety steps:

  1. Tell someone, “I am going low”
  2. Eat a 15 gram Emergency Pack (E-Pack, see below)
  3. Check blood glucose 15 minutes later
  4. Repeat if levels have not reached 100 mg/dl.
  5. It is safe to begin exercise when levels reach 100 mg/dl.

15 Carb E-Packs

  • Make 15-carb E-Packs (something that won’t “tempt” the diabetic )
    • 8 lifesavers
    • 11 jelly beans
    • 1 fruit roll-up
    • 1 juice box
    • 1 granola bar
  • Place E-Packs:
    • Workout bag
    • School back pack
    • With mom, dad or other caregivers
    • Each car
    • Each room of home
    • Each classroom at school
    • Travel – camping bag