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Further information for parents
Further information for parents

Why should I exercise?

Get moving!

Exercise is good for everyone, especially children with diabetes. Exercise keeps you fit and can help improve your diabetes control. All types of activity require energy and this comes mainly from carbohydrate. You may need to change your insulin or food intake on days when you are exercising a lot. Extra carbohydrate can be added to the main meal or snack before the exercise, or if your activity is unplanned, can be taken as a snack just beforehand.

When taking part in a new activity, test your blood glucose before and afterwards, so that you can work out what effect the exercise has had. This will help you decide how much extra carbohydrate you need, or if you need to reduce your insulin dose next time. Always carry some glucose, especially when exercising. Ask a parent, grandparent or friend to sew a special pocket into your sports kit in which to carry a few glucose tablets.

Outdoor activities where you get wet and cold e.g. canoeing, swimming or skiing, can mean that you use up a lot of energy just keeping warm. You may need to eat extra carbohydrate to cover this. It is sensible for you and your parents to talk to your sports teacher at school and explain about hypos and the need to eat before strenuous exercise. You can also discuss insulin dose changes in relation to exercise with your diabetes team.

Sometimes your blood glucose (sugar) may rise after exercise, especially if you have done a strenuous activity. This is caused by the adrenaline your body releases. Remember exercise will cause your blood glucose to fall, though it might be a few hours later. You could be at risk of a hypo for up to 24 hours following the activity. So always monitor your blood glucose levels closely.

Parents' note

Parents’ note

Insulin is released into the bloodstream at different speeds from the various injection sites. For example, it is released from the tummy more quickly than from the arms and legs. However, exercise such as cycling or swimming may speed up the release of insulin that has been injected into the legs. Extremes of temperature, i.e. hot or cold weather and hot baths can also affect insulin release. Speak to your diabetes specialist nurse for further advice.


For Parents

For Parents

Helpful information for parents who have children with diabetes Find out how and where you can get support, click here

Around the World with Diabetes

Around the World with Diabetes

Maëlle Bocher from France is an extraordinary twelve-year-old with diabetes. Maëlle was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes aged five. In January 2006, Maëlle and her family embarked on an exciting sailing journey around the world.

Steve Dixon's Story

 Steve Dixon's Story

Sky TV presenter Steve Dixon was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 17 years old, mid-way through his A-levels. Now 34, he has achieved a successful career as a news presenter, and is a big advocate on the importance of self-management to carefully monitor his diabetes.

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