In this section
Keeping active is an important part of your diabetes
management. All children with diabetes should be encouraged to participate
in all sports and activities.
Having diabetes shouldn’t stop you from performing sports at your best!
Being physically active is good for child and adolescent health, as well
as being a great way to make friends and to develop physical and social skills.
Children and young people aged 5-17 years should be physically active
for a minimum of 60 minutes per day.
This can be accumulated during the day, for example:10 minutes before
school, 20 minutes walking or riding to and from school, and 30 minutes of
active play after school = 60 minutes.
Even if children are physically active, they will still benefit from
limiting the amount of time that they spend sitting or lying down (except when
sleeping) in as many ways as possible.
Use of screens and electronic
media for entertainment should be limited to less than 2
hours per day.
An uninterrupted sleep of 9 to 11 hours per night is recommended for
those aged 5–13 years, and 8 to 10 hours per night for those aged 14–17 years.
It is also important to have consistent bed and wake-up times.
Reference: National Physical
Activity, Sedentary Behaviour, and Sleep Recommendations for Children and Young
People (5-17 years) available at www.health.gov.au
In general, exercise lowers blood glucose levels (BGLs). This is because
your body uses glucose as an energy fuel, and muscle cells become more active.
Everyone is individual and the response to exercise can vary from person to
person. Management of your diabetes during exercise will depend on the type,
duration and intensity of the exercise.
To get a better understanding of your BGL response during exercise, it
is important to keep a record of your BGLs and the different types of exercises
performed. This includes checking before, during and after exercise and
noting the direction your BGLs are trending. It is important to aim for target
BGLs (4.0-7.0 mmol/L) to maximise performance during exercise.
Hyperglycaemia before exercise can impact on your performance during
exercise. Sometimes BGLs can rise just before or during an activity due to the
release of a hormone called adrenaline. This is usually short lived, with BGLs
returning to target range without requiring extra insulin.
If your blood glucose is 15mmol/L or higher and your blood ketone level is 0.6 mmol/L or higher then activity should be postponed until blood ketones are less than 0.6 mmol/L.
As a general rule, for every 30-45 mins of moderate to vigorous
physical activity (i.e. a game of netball/basketball or an active
PE/sport lesson) you should consume one extra serve of carbohydrate
(approximately 15 grams), preferably low GI. This is just a starting point; the
amount of carbohydrate you require may differ depending on your level of
fitness and the type and length of activity you are doing.
Examples of 1 carb serve activity snacks:
It is usually best to have the extra carbohydrate 30 minutes before
exercising, to allow the slow acting carbohydrate time to be absorbed by the
body. This is in addition to the carbohydrate you usually have e.g. if sport is
after a meal/snack.
Exercise increases the muscles’ sensitivity to insulin and this is why
insulin doses may need to be reduced if playing sport, even if
you eat extra carbs. Discuss with your diabetes team if you are not sure if or
how to reduce insulin doses.
You do not need extra carbohydrate during recess
and lunch breaks at school (even if you are very active). Your daily insulin
doses and carbohydrate serves are based on your usual activity levels.
If you are doing long periods of high intensity activity then you might
need to have extra fast acting (high GI) carbohydrate during the activity, e.g.
sports drink or juice, and you may also need to reduce your night time insulin.
Your diabetes team can advise you on this.
Delayed hypo’s can occur, often up to 12-16 hours after being active.
This is because your muscles continue to use glucose during recovery and your
body is more sensitive to insulin after exercise.
Monitoring BGL’s prior to bed and overnight is very
important after prolonged exercise.
If you are experiencing regular hypoglycaemia during or after activity
then a reduction in insulin might be necessary – talk to your diabetes team
Exercise affects everyone differently. Monitor your BGLs carefully to
look for patterns and learn how your body responds to different sports.
Monitoring your BGLs before activity is important and can give you an idea as
to which direction your BGLs are heading and how much extra carbohydrate you