If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with diabetes, insulin therapy may be part of the diabetes management plan used to control blood sugar levels throughout the day. An insulin pump offers a convenient way to deliver insulin, as opposed to injections. An insulin pump releases small amounts of long-lasting insulin into the bloodstream at regular intervals to maintain consistent delivery throughout the day — this is called a basal dose. It can also be used for bolus doses which are one-time deliveries of fast-acting insulin administered in specific instances, like to compensate for meals or high-glycemic episodes. An simple-to-use touchscreen insulin pump with CGM integration can make it easier for those undergoing insulin therapy to take part in activities like exercise without having to stop for injections or to monitor blood glucose readings.
Exercising can be a great way to regulate weight, decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, and even improve blood glucose control. For individuals who choose to take advantage of the convenience of an insulin pump for exercise, here are some things to keep in mind.
Factors that Affect Blood Glucose During Exercising
It is necessary to closely monitor blood sugar levels and adjust insulin distributions before, during, and after exercise. This can help mitigate the risk of a hypoglycemic event, a potentially dangerous drop in blood glucose levels.
When exercising, it’s particularly important to pay attention to the following factors that can affect your blood sugar:
What time of day you exercise: Due to certain hormonal changes, blood sugar levels in the morning and throughout the day can vary from person to person. It is common for some to see higher blood glucose levels in the morning, before breakfast. It’s important to monitor blood sugar levels to help better understand trends in blood glucose levels.
When your last meal was: Depending on when you last ate, your blood sugar levels could be higher or lower than usual. When planning exercise, it is important to consider how your eating schedule will coincide with your exercise routine.
Your last insulin dose: If your most recent blood glucose reading was abnormally high or low, you may have to plan your upcoming insulin doses and exercise around those readings. Your doctor will be able to go over your blood sugar trends and let you know when it’s safe to exercise, and what to do with an out-of-range reading.
Type of exercise: Different kinds of exercise (for example short-duration aerobic exercise versus extended strength training) can affect the amount of insulin you need and when you will need it. It is important to speak with your doctor to discuss how certain exercises affect your blood sugar and what precautions to take.
What You Should Keep in Mind When Exercising with an Insulin Pump
To learn more about exercising with an insulin pump, or for more information about monitoring your blood sugar during physical activity, speak with your doctor or diabetes care team. They will be able to help you track your blood sugar readings, plan for exercise going forward, and establish a regimen for healthy blood glucose control.