Session offers management tips for exercise among persons with type 1


Sheri Colberg, PhD, FACSM

When individuals of any age have type 1 diabetes, a normal workout can cause many problems for their blood glucose control — unless they know more about what glycemic responses to expect and how to make changes to either their food intake or their insulin doses or both.

“Most of the time, being physically active lowers blood glucose levels, but that is not always the case. To stay in control and exercise optimally, anyone with type 1 diabetes really needs to understand why the responses can vary,” said Sheri Colberg, PhD, FACSM, professor of exercise science at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia.

During “Type 1 Diabetes and Physical Activity: Integrating Data” from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm today in Room 220–222, Dr. Colberg will discuss the unique challenges faced by active individuals with type 1 diabetes, giving diabetes educators the means to help their patients optimize athletic performance while balancing blood glucose levels before, during and after carbohydrate supplementation use and insulin changes.

“Not all types of exercise are equal when it comes to blood glucose responses, but diabetes educators will learn more about what is the usual response to various types of physical activity, such as aerobic, resistance and even sprinting,” Dr. Colberg said.

She noted that a lot of expected response depends on the circulating levels of insulin in a person’s bloodstream during an activity.

“When insulin levels are higher, hypoglycemia is likely to occur during exercise that is moderate and longer in duration, regardless of the type. However, exercise intensity can also have a huge impact on blood glucose levels, and blood glucose levels may stay more stable or rise during an activity like heavy resistance training,” Dr. Colberg said.

Athletic individuals with type 1 diabetes face unique challenges and concerns, especially with identifying hypoglycemia, and she will provide strategies to prevent and rapidly manage hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia caused by or following exercise.
Taking in the right types of carbohydrates during and following activity is one key strategy to keep blood glucose levels in a more normal range.

“Sometimes even short sprints can be used during exercise to raise blood glucose levels,” Dr. Colberg said. “If more than one type of training is taking place, doing one type — resistance training — before the other — aerobic — can also affect blood glucose outcomes.

“All of this information is critical for diabetes educators who work with youths or adults with type 1 diabetes. My goal is to help attendees implement effective community models of self-management that facilitate lifestyle modifications to help prevent or delay chronic disease and improve outcomes.”

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