As I write this blog post, I am furiously devouring white chocolate covered pretzels in order to bring myself up after a post-workout low.
I was explaining to my roommate, Amanda, my frustrations when it comes to diabetes and exercise when I started to get a little shaky and glanced at my CGM. It confirmed my suspicions: 80 and lowering rapidly. I sighed, clearly exasperated, and Amanda asked me to explain what was going on and why. I launched into a discussion about how irritating it is to try to exercise as a diabetic.
I told her that earlier this afternoon, I had noticed that my blood sugar was in the 200s. I thought to myself, Okay, I’m in a range where if I try to work out, I should be able to do it without dropping too low. I figured that if I was moderately exercising for about an hour, I would come down to somewhere between 90 and 120, which is an ideal range for me.
So I gathered my necessities for the gym, including my glucose tablets (just in case), and went on my merry way to the beautiful recreation center on the UMass campus.
I decided to go on the elliptical at a medium resistance for about forty-five minutes. About thirty minutes into the workout, I noticed the appearance of the threatening double arrows pointing downward on my CGM. However, it said that my blood sugar was around 180. I figured I could get through the rest of my exercise without it getting much lower.
Once I finished on the elliptical, I chose to do some toning routines like crunches and lunges. I spent about fifteen minutes doing them, and did a few stretches to wrap up the workout. I went to the locker room to retrieve my belongings, and stopped in the restroom to do a quick blood sugar check.
To my relief, my meter said I was 104. Perfect, I thought. It’s about 4:15 now, so I should be in good shape for dinner in an hour.
However, I forgot to account the fifteen minute walk from the recreation center back to my dorm room. By the time I got back to my building, I wasn’t feeling too great. I walked very slowly up the six flights of stairs to get to my room, because I was too impatient to wait for the elevator. And that was when I noticed the alert on my CGM.
This brings me to my current conversation with Amanda. I told her that as a diabetic, it’s hard to be able to do what you want to do at any given time. The struggle I have to overcome whenever I want to exercise makes it almost not worth it. Sometimes, I can’t help but think that by attempting to do something good for my blood sugar and my body, it has the opposite effect. To put it simply, it’s maddening.
But then I remind myself that I can learn from when these lows occur. I can adjust my insulin dosages according to how long I’m working out for. As long as I do my best to plan ahead and don’t get discouraged when things don’t always go the way I want them to, I can enjoy exercise and good blood sugars at the same time.