Diabetes and Walking

Since moving to the city, I have been having a really hard time figuring out how to keep my blood sugars level while trekking around on foot.  It seems like the moment I walk out the door, my blood sugar plummets through the floor.  Being a car-bound Midwestern girl, who avoids most forms of exercise, I never really noticed just how big of an effect walking has on my blood sugar.

For instance, the other day I was going to meet M for lunch; he works 1.6 miles away, along a route that is not conducive to using public transportation.  I left the apartment with a blood sugar of 150 and a Dex arrow pointing east, and, about halfway to my destination, Dex began wailing.  I was down below 60.  I ate three glucose tabs and continued to walk – I didn’t want to miss my lunch date because of BG issues – ignoring Dex’s pleas for me to stop.  Upon arriving, I checked my BG…35.  35!  And it was a 35 that, Despite Dex buzzing at my side, caught me completely off guard.

So I ate my lunch, reduced my bolus to compensate for the low, and turned my basal down by 30% for the walk home.  Dex was reading a NE pointing 95 by the time M had to return to work, and I had no choice but to head back.  Nonetheless, I felt pretty good about the walk home.

However, I made it just about halfway back when Dex started buzzing again.  I reached into my pocket, thinking that I would need to correct a high (my high alarm is set at 140 so this seemed plausible) but Dex showed another below 60 warning.

I downed another handful of glucose tabs (finishing off the bottle that I had forgotten to top off that morning) and stopped at a bookstore  to wait for them to take effect.  After 20, maybe 30, minutes later, I left for home, with Dex showing a NE climbing 75.

To make a long story short, when I got home, Dex was reading about 61 but a quick check with my Ping remote showed me sitting more in the mid-forties.  I downed a few juice boxes and plopped myself down in font of the TV to recover.

I’ve gone on a few other long walks since then and I am developing a system that works 80% of the time:

  1. Reduce basal by 50% 30 minutes BEFORE leaving (return to normal 30 minutes before stopping or when I get there).
  2. If my BG is <130, eat 15g or so of carbs before heading out.
  3. If eating in the middle of the walk, reduce carb bolus by 1 or 2 units (depending on how much walking I plan to do after).

What do you do to keep BGs up during times of increased physical activity?