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Guide to Diabetes

Exercises and Sports: If You Are On Insulin Or Tablet Treatment

If you are on insulin or tablet treatment and take part  in high intesity sports or exercise regular, you may need to speak to your doctor about adjusting your medication before and after you exercise. Here are a few examples.
  • If your exercise is prolonged (more than 30 minute)you may need to adjust your insulin/tablet dose before and after the activity. (Not needed for any exercise lasting less than 20-30 minutes.)


  • Strenuous exercise lowers blood sugar and you may need extra snacks before and after the activity. (Not needed for low intensity exercise lasting less than 60 minutes)

Always have glucose tablets/ chocolate/ or a sugary drink such as fruit juice or Lucozade when you take exercise.

Remember that everyone is different and if you do wish to do more strenuous exercise it is better to consult with your doctor or diabetes team as your treatment may need modifying.

Restrictions Imposed By Sports Governing Bodies for people on Insulin Treatment


There are some restrictions and bans on some activities for people on insulin treatment.

Restrictions include ballooningPowerboat racing

  • Ballooning

  • Gliding

  • Motorcycle racing

  • Parachuting

  • Power Boat racing

  • Rowing

  • Underwater swimming

Total Ban on Participation Horse racingboxing

  • Bobsleigh

  • Boxing

  • Flying

  • Horse racing

  • Motor car racing

  • Paragliding

(Sporting Information Kindly Provided By Dr Dinesh Nagi, Mbbs, Phd, Frcp, Ref: Prediabetes Janet Jarvis Nurse Research Fellow)

Diabetes And Altitude

Activities taking place at altitude (over 2500 metes above sea level) are safe for people with diabetes as those without the condition as long as the five following area are given special consideration:

1. Carbohydrate absorption
2. Acute mountain sickness (AMS)
3. Blood glucose monitoring
4. Insulin and carbohydrate requirements
5. Existing complications

Carbohydrates may not be metabolised at altitude. However high blood glucose levels may be explained by the normal response to activity and/or cold, which is to release glucose stored in the liver and encourage more glucose to be transported to the muscles. Whatever the cause, the outcome is the same: raised blood glucose levels.

  • Frequent monitoring will provide early warning sign of hypo or hyperglycaemia.
  • Take supplies and make contingency plans. (Ref DUK)


Useful Websites- Sports activities across Leicestershire