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Tips for Athletes With Type 1 Diabetes

You perform at your best when your diabetes is under control. Check out these tips to help you safely reach your goals. And be sure to get the OK from your diabetes care team before getting started.

What Should Athletes With Type 1 Diabetes Take to Every Workout or Game?

  • your medical ID (shoe tag, bracelet, or card)
  • shoes and socks that fit you well
  • to-go kit: insulin, water, blood glucose meter and test strips, fast-acting glucose in tablet or gel form, candy or juice, and glucagon
  • pump (if you wear one)
  • water
  • healthy granola bar or cracker pack to treat low blood sugar

What's the Best Way to Work Out When You Have Type 1 Diabetes?

  • Start with a warm-up.
  • Stay fueled and hydrated.
  • Keep your coach in the loop. Give them emergency contact information, and be sure they know what to do in case of high or low blood sugars. Show the coach where to find your diabetes to-go kit in your bag.
  • Do you use an insulin pump? Ask the care team if you need to adjust the infusion rate.
  • Listen to your body and stop when you need to.
  • Finish with a 5- to 10-minute cool-down.

How Can I Control My Blood Sugar During Exercise?

  • Test your blood sugar: before, during, and after exercise.
  • Know the signs of low blood sugar and high blood sugar.
  • Adjust your carbs and insulin according to your care plan.
  • Keep a journal. When you start a new sport, test and track your numbers.
  • Sit out if you’re feeling low or high, or have ketones in your pee.
  • Know what to do in case of an emergency.
  • Got questions? Ask your care team..

Reviewed by: Cheryl Patterson, RD, CDE
Date Reviewed: Jul 26, 2021

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