Summer Sports: Fair Game for Diabetes

Ask a golfer walking the fairgrounds what he’s doing. Chances are he won’t say “exercising.” Same goes for someone trying to perfect her tennis serve. Sports like tennis, golf, biking, and skiing are all fair “game” for most people with diabetes. Heed a few words to the wise to get the most out of them and make them safer and more enjoyable.


  • 1.

    Take turns riding in the golf cart.

    Walking for the duration of your golf match will give you the most aerobic exercise, of course. But some walking is better than none. If you need to ride a cart at least part of the way, strike a deal with your partner to alternate who gets to drive, and who gets to walk. For instance, you might ride in the cart while playing one hole, and your partner would ride during the next hole.

  • 2.

    If you're playing all 18 holes, prepare yourself for blood sugar swings.

    Before you start a round of golf — or any other sport that will keep you moving for the better part of the afternoon — be ready with a glucose meter, carbohydrate snacks or glucose tablets, and any medicine you might need to keep your blood sugar in the safe range.

  • 3.

    After squash, check for rising glucose.

    Don’t assume that all types of exercise will lower your blood sugar. In some people with diabetes, high-adrenaline sports, or any very strenuous exercise, can actually raise it. That’s because adrenaline causes the liver to release more glucose to supply the body with a burst of energy. The effect does wear off, of course, and you should be ready for a possible drop in blood sugar up to several hours after you’re done exercising. Regular testing — before, during, and after exercise — will help you determine how to manage your blood sugar levels with food, glucose, or insulin. 

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