All children, including those with diabetes should be encouraged to be active. In children with diabetes, physical activity can have varying affects on BGLs.
Physical activity usually lowers BGLs by helping insulin to work better. Sometimes physical activity can cause BGLs to be high, usually from stress or excitement.
It can affect children differently, so it’s a good idea to discuss any planned activity or changes to regular activities with the parents, as this may require them to make adjustments to the insulin dose.
During physical activity, the child with diabetes may have to:
- Test BGLs before, during and after physical activity
- Eat extra carbohydrate containing foods before, during and after physical activity (one additional serve of carbohydrate may be needed for every 30 minutes of exercise)
- Stop to treat a hypo or low BGL
- Take time out to recover from a hypo (this may take longer than 15 minutes)
- Watch for signs and symptoms of delayed hypos – hypos can still occur up to 16 hours after physical activity
It’s important for children with diabetes to join in all activities with other children, however, it’s vital that their additional needs are taken into consideration.