Kids with diabetes should be encouraged to play sports and exercise

It is important for kids with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels when exercising.

Exercise improves mental, emotional and physical health and fostering physical activity early in a child’s life can help instill healthy habits that can benefit them throughout their lifespan. 

For youth with diabetes, exercise has additional benefits as it can improve the body’s ability to use insulin. Other benefits for youth with diabetes include:

  • Strengthening bone and muscle
  • Relieving tension and stress
  • Boosting mood
  • Burning calories to help maintain a healthy weight
  • Increasing energy levels

Regular exercise can also help children with diabetes avoid developing other health problems. Visit a family physician before a child starts participating or competing. Your child’s physician may need to change the medication schedule during periods of competition or regular exercise.

Parents should watch for signs of low and high blood sugar

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia):

  • Sweating
  • Shaky
  • Feel weak
  • Confused
  • Lightheaded

High blood sugar (hyperglycemia):

  • Feel very thirsty
  • Feel very tired
  • High blurry vision
  • Urinate a lot

All youth with diabetes should also be aware themselves of these signs.

Some tips for active youth with diabetes include:

  • Take the correct dose of insulin:  Remember your doctor might adjust the amount or schedule when you are active.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet that is recommended by your physician or registered dietitian.
  • Be prepared for events when you will be physically active by packing appropriate snacks and water.
  • Make sure to have your testing supplies on hand when playing sports or being physically active.
  • Let your coach know you have diabetes. Chances are your coach has been trained to watch for signals.
  • Be aware of any signals that your body needs insulin and don’t hesitate to take a break and have a snack when needed.

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