I am on fast-acting insulin. What type of activity restrictions do I need to be aware of?

Patty Bonsignore


Taking rapid-acting insulin should not prevent you from being physically active, but it is important to plan your activities to prevent low blood glucose levels. The best way to create an activity plan is to meet with a certified diabetes educator. He or she will review what you are currently doing, give you some ideas about what type of snacks to have and how often, and guide you as to how to adjust your insulin. In general, the following are some steps you will want to take to exercise safely: 1) always carry something to treat lows with you when you are active, 2) always check your blood glucose before and after physical activity, 3) if your blood glucose level is below 110 before or right after the physical activity, have a 15- to 30-gram carb snack, 4) try to exercise after meals, 5) learn how to adjust your mealtime insulin prior to physical activity. The goal for any exercise plan is to help you prevent and treat low blood glucose levels effectively. Physical activity is not recommended for those with diabetes during periods of illness and/or if your blood glucose levels are running very high (usually this means over 400 for people with type 2, over 300 for people with type 1 without ketones, and over 250 for people with type 1who have ketones). As stated previously, meeting with an educator or talking to your endocrinologist about physical activity is the best way to create an activity plan that will meet your personal health goals.