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Getting Comfortable With a More Active Life

Staying active can help keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible, which is important for people with type 1 diabetes. The first challenge—getting started! These tips may help:

  • Play it safe! Be sure to check with your diabetes care team before beginning or changing your physical activity plan
  • Check blood sugar. Before starting physical activity, it's a good idea to check it and avoid physical activity if blood sugar levels are too low
  • Prepare for low blood sugar. You may worry about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) following heavy activity. Be on the watch for symptoms of low blood sugar, and respond quickly. Keep a sugary snack or glucose tablets nearby when you or the person you care for is physically active in case blood sugar levels drop quickly
  • Keep a physical activity log. Before and after starting activity, write down the latest blood sugar readings. By reviewing your written records, you'll learn what works for you, or the person you care for
  • Make physical activity a normal part of everyday life for yourself, or the person you care for. This may mean skipping the elevator and taking the stairs instead. Or, parking in the farthest parking spaces in parking lots. Or even walking the dog around the block. Use a pedometer to help count steps. A good goal for a healthy adult is 10,000 footsteps a day. Try to increase the daily step count a little each day
  • A great way to start being more active is to start walking. It is often easier to start and keep going when one has company, so find an activity "buddy." Ask a family member, friend, neighbor, or coworker to walk with you, or the person you care for. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and socks that fit well, and remember to examine your (or his or her) feet after a walk
  • Celebrate success. Making lifestyle changes (or helping others to make them) is not always easy, but you can do it. Set goals before starting, and reward yourself, or the person you care for, when those goals are achieved

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