Sports, Exercise, and Diabetes

Sports, Exercise, and Diabetes

Lee este articulo

Ever hear of Olympic gold-medal swimmer Gary Hall? How about pro golfers Kelli Kuehne and Michelle McGann? Or NASCAR driver Charlie Kimball? Aside from being awesome athletes, these people have something in common — they all have diabetes.

Like anyone else, people with diabetes are healthier if they get plenty of exercise. They also have the same chances of excelling at sports. Whether you want to go for the gold or just go hiking in your hometown, your diabetes won't hold you back.

How Exercise Helps People With Diabetes

Exercise is an important part of managing diabetes and staying healthy in other ways. Here are some of the benefits of exercise:

All exercise is great — from walking the dog or riding a bike to playing team sports — just be sure to be active every day. Changing your exercise habits might be hard at first, but once you start feeling how exercise helps your body, it'll be easier to continue.

Exercise Tips

Your doctor will help you get ready to exercise or join a sport. These tips can help:

What to Watch For

When kids with diabetes exercise, a few things may happen in the body. They can get get low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia (say: hi-po-gly-see-me-uh). Or they can get high blood sugar, called hyperglycemia (say: hi-per-gly-see-me-uh).

You may have low blood sugar if you are:

You may have high blood sugar if you:

If you're starting a new exercise routine, like training for a sport, your doctor might have you change your insulin dosage to prevent these problems. Also, keep an eye on cuts, scrapes, or blisters and be sure to tell your parents or doctor right away if they're really red, swollen, or if they're oozing pus — they might be infected, which can make your diabetes harder to control.

Kids with type 1 diabetes shouldn't exercise if they have substances called ketones (say: kee-tones) in their blood. When this happens, exercise can make things worse, and you can get very sick. Your doctor will tell you how to figure out if you have ketones, treat this problem, and get back on track.

Your doctor will also write down what you should do if any problems happen. For example, you might need to take a break, drink water, or have a snack. If you notice any of these signs, stop exercising and follow your instructions.

You're All Set!

Your doctor says it's OK and you know how to take care of your diabetes. You're all set to get plenty of healthy exercise. Now get moving!

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: July 2012

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2015 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and

Bookmark and Share

Related Resources
OrganizationAmerican Diabetes Association (ADA) The ADA website includes news, information, tips, and recipes for people with diabetes.
Web SiteChildren With Diabetes This website offers true stories about kids and teens who have diabetes.
Web SiteJoslin Diabetes Center The website of this Boston-based center has information about how to monitor blood sugar and manage diabetes.
OrganizationJuvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) JDRF's mission is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.
Related Articles
Your Endocrine System The endocrine system produces hormones, which are needed for proper body function and growth. Find out more in this article for kids.
Type 1 Diabetes: What Is It? Thousands of kids all over the world have type 1 diabetes, a disease that affects how the body uses glucose.
Keeping Track of Your Blood Sugar Checking your blood sugar levels is a really important part of managing diabetes. Knowing those levels will help you keep your blood sugar under control - and that helps you feel good and keeps you healthy.
Diabetes Center Diabetes means a problem with insulin, an important hormone in the body. Find out how children with diabetes can stay healthy and do the normal stuff kids like to do.
Diabetes Control: Why It's Important Keeping blood sugar levels under control can help keep you healthy and prevent health problems from happening down the road. Find out more.
Nick Jonas & Diabetes: Call Me Mr. Positive Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers talks about how he handles his superstar life and type 1 diabetes.
Why Exercise Is Cool Exercise can help keep a kid's body fit and healthy. Learn more about what exercise can do for you in this article for kids.
Type 2 Diabetes: What Is It? Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses glucose, a sugar that is the body's main source of fuel. Find out more about a kind of diabetes called type 2 diabetes in this article for kids.
Developments Developments
Sign up for enewsletter
Get involved Get involved
Discover ways to support Akron Children's