Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital
Local: 305-666-6511
Toll Free: 800-432-6837
My Kids Patient Portal
Advanced Search

Pediatric Center
In this section

Step 9: Exercise is important!

Care Guides

     Bookmark and Share

  • Insulin
  • Meal plan
  • Blood glucose monitoring
  • exercise

Exercise has great health benefits for both children and adults with type 1 diabetes. As long as blood glucose is controlled (and there are no other complications), they can participate in all levels of exercise -- leisure activities, recreational play, and competitive sports.

However, exercise IS a little tricky. Without the proper precautions, exercise can make blood glucose run either too high or too low (usually, too low).

Before beginning an exercise program, the doctor should perform a thorough exam. Once approved, follow these general guidelines:

  • Include a 5 - 10 minute warm-up and cool-down period -- such as walking and stretching -- into each exercise session.
  • Monitor blood glucose before and after each exercise session. Learn to recognize when changes in insulin or food intake are necessary.
  • Recognize how diabetes is affected by different exercise conditions.
  • Keep sugar-based foods handy during and after exercise. They should be eaten as needed to avoid hypoglycemia. These include glucose tablets, soft drinks, and raisins.
  • Wear a visible I.D. bracelet or other diabetes identifier.

The effects of exercise on blood glucose can last up to 24 hours. Keep an eye out for diabetes symptoms. More food should be eaten if necessary.

There are successful professional athletes with type 1 diabetes. You and your health care providers will work together to maintain good blood glucose control, so that you or your child can stay physically active.


Physical activity and diabetes: What I need to know. National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse. March 2008. NIH Publications No. 05-5180.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission ( URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial proces and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. ©1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.