By: Tyler Stevenson
My last ten tips were meant to give you an idea of what to think about before you plan your day (Tyler’s Top Ten Tips). Now I’m going to give you my top ten tips for how to manage your blood glucose levels while playing sports. These should help you keep everything in control and allow you to relax and have fun while playing.
1. Before every game, try to eat something with protein and something with carbohydrates. The protein will help sustain your blood level, while the carbohydrates will give you energy. If you plan on eating anything after the game, protein is the better choice. Protein will give your body the chance to rebuild and heal its muscles.
2. Make sure to stay away from high fat foods right before any game. If you eat something that’s high in fat, it is going to have a delayed reaction in your body. Therefore, if you give yourself a full amount of insulin for whatever it is that you’re eating, you will probably go low during your game because the insulin will absorb faster than the fat.
3. Have some type of sugary drink by your bed after every game. You’ll tend to go low after the long and tiring exercise that most sports require. Your metabolism takes longer to slow down and come back to normal after strenuous exercise. It keeps running in that fast pace that was brought on by the game, so you may need a sugar boost to keep your blood sugar levels normal.
4. Remember to be proactive about checking your blood, even while the game is going on. High or low sugar will always affect your performance. You don’t want shaking hands, blurred vision, or delayed reactions because you allowed your sugar levels to get too high or low.
5. Do not try to give yourself less insulin for your pre-game meal because you are afraid of going low. Your blood is already going to be running higher than usual due to the stress and adrenaline brought on by the game. You want to enter every game running at a normal level. You can always adjust later.
6. If you do drop lower than normal after the game, your appetite will most likely be incredible. Try to eat somewhat moderately, because you don’t want to shoot your blood glucose high again. The worst thing you can do to your body is go extremely low and then make your sugar levels spike high because you ate the wrong things.
7. Try to find a routine meal before your game and stick to it. Find what you like and what works for you. Over time, you’ll have all the calculations of your food memorized and everything will get much easier.
8. If you go low during your game, make sure you take yourself out and sit down. Once you’ve done that and you are drinking something to bring you up, sit for at least five to ten minutes to let it absorb in your body. You can’t just fuel up and then go, because your blood will just drop again and you will waste more time trying to get your sugar levels back to normal. By rushing to get back in the game, you will actually be costing yourself more time.
9. It is best to have set times that you check your blood. If your sport has a halftime, that is a perfect opportunity. This way, you’ll be able to see how your body is maintaining your sugar level and adjust accordingly. The key here is to force yourself to check your blood. Some games are more stressful than others, and competition varies, so you may require some sugar level adjustments during the game. The one thing you don’t want to happen is to have to sit on the sidelines because “you” allowed your blood sugars to get out of whack.
10. Remember to take your time while trying these tips. Everything might not work the very first time you try them. The idea is to consider these suggestions and find out what works best for you. Everyone is different.
I hope these tips are helpful and will allow you to gain your maximum performance level in whatever sport you play. I’ve been practicing them for years, and they are a great benefit to me. I have found when it comes to athletics, you just have to stay a step or two ahead of diabetes. So, relax, listen to your body, and stay disciplined in your routine, and you will be able to control your diabetes rather than it controlling you.