Sports & Recreation
Exercise and physical activity are good for everyone and especially important for children with diabetes.
Whether it's a team sport, a solo sport or an outdoor adventure that your child enjoys, planning is key.
Blood glucose (blood sugar) levels can drop during or after exercise so be on the look-out, be prepared and check often.
- Referee. Talk to your diabetes team to make good decisions about how to prepare for physical activity and what to do when blood glucose goes up or down during activity.
- Practice. Create and follow a diabetes care routine with your child of what they need to do to every time before they play.
- Huddle. Make sure coaches or other adults they designate are aware that your child has diabetes, can recognize symptoms and know what to do.
- Fuel the body. Exercising and spending energy may mean your child will need a larger than usual snack. Include protein, such as string cheese, or a turkey sandwich and complex carbs like whole wheat crackers.
- Know your stats. Your child should test blood glucose level before physical activity and again, every half-hour during activity. Help your child keep track of time by providing a stop watch for an adult on the sidelines to set after each check or give your child a special watch with an alarm to help her remember. If blood glucose is high, your child should stop exercising and check urine for ketones. If ketones are present, get medical help.
- Be prepared. It's unlikely to happen, but in case of severe hypoglycemia, be sure a trained adult is present to administer glucagon.
- Cool down. The effects of physical activity may not show up immediately afterward. Keep an eye on blood glucose levels for up to 24 hours, especially after strenuous activity.
- Replay. Discuss with your child how he or she felt physically before, during and after competing. Go over the glucose numbers that were collected and make adjustments wherever necessary with the help of your diabetes team.
Last Reviewed: July 31, 2013
Last Edited: September 17, 2013
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