Sunday, February 19, 2012

Research and whatnot...

Well, yes... I have been away from diabetes blogging for a bit... I'm going to say I've been busy with some research. And, it's true.

Since 2003 I've been working in waves to achieve better results with glucose control. After tackling nutrition, it seemed like exercise was a variable that was hard to master. I had heard that it could make your glucose go both down AND up. Different times of day gave different results... I exercised and hoped for a safe outcome, or I skipped it...

Anyway, around the time I reported my January numbers I was starting a fitness routine (which consists of sprinting, lifting heavy things, play, and rambling walks) and ran into some interesting stuff.

Lifting Heavy Things: I thought that since my experiments with the elliptical trainer were giving me greater insulin sensitivity (because of extra muscle activity), doing some weight training would create the same effect to a greater degree. Well, I was wrong. I did my first workout session I had a crazy fast rise in my glucose. It was after a meal, but the rise was even faster than a meal. I found myself at 300 mg/dl. I was sort of annoyed. I emailed Ginger Vieira, because she lifts heavy things, is a Type 1 diabetic, and she's a health coach. I figured she might know something about it. She told me that it's pretty normal for this to happen. She referenced chapter 9 in her book. I bought her book and read it, quickly.

Yep, anabolic exercise requires insulin, and then later, glucose... Hmmm. There's more to it than that, but it answered my question.

Rambling walks...: I have experimented with taking some walks and it definitely does the same thing as the elliptical, and it's more interesting. My insulin sensitivity goes up and sometimes I even have to lower my basal rate, eat a glucose tablet, or I get away with eating more carbs in the following meal than usual.

Sprinting: Part of my weekly routine includes some sprinting. I'm not a runner, but it's kind of fun to get out and run as fast as I can for short distances. I'm doing it with Simon (age 11), and we are having a good time on Saturdays. We go out for about 15 minutes, warm-up and then give it our all for about 50 yards, rest. Do it again. Maybe 8 times.
Effect: some soreness the next day, higher insulin sensitivity for the next 4 hours
It's shocking that 15 minutes of intense work can have a dramatic metabolic effect. At that short interval, it's nothing but fun, with a good pay off. We are only doing it once a week, according to our routine, but it's pretty fun. I'm thinking of making my cycling more about slow, leisurely pedaling or sprinting in the future. It seems like that's where the greatest benefits are for insulin sensitivity. That hour long cardio stuff wasn't as fun, took a long time, and didn't seem to help as much.

I mentioned Ginger Vieira's book earlier. It's called Your Diabetes Science Experiment. A good portion of it is about exercise. I think it's good and I really enjoyed it. She has really done her homework and gives us the tools to figure out all the odd things we experience as diabetics.

Overall, it's been fun to try to figure stuff out. Of course, there's often more mysteries than breakthroughs, but it's all progress to me.


  1. My experience in the past is that I have to inject before lifting weights, although I don't notice any later drop in blood sugar.
    My experience with walking is that it sometimes does something to my blood sugar and sometimes doesn't and I really can't predict it.
    Sustained running makes me low no matter what I eat, and if I eat too much before running, I get too sick to run. So I only do walk-run combinations.
    I've also found that juggling lowers my blood sguar, but to an unpredictable degree.
    I recently found that my brother's elliptical actually has an effect on my blood sugar that I could predict, and have been using it for that purpose- I do 200 rotations and it lowers my blood sugar by 30 mg/dl- in about fifteen minutes, no long term effects that I can tell. I love it.

    I had heard of the book but your is the first review that makes me want to read it. The Chicago Public Library system doesn't seem to own it though.

    P.S. The captcha thing is asking me to type blood tillah!

  2. You know...I've noticed too that I get better oomph in the insulin sensitivity realm by going more intense for short periods-like 15 minutes or if I steadily exercise throughout my day. Lately, if I'm feeling kind of myself (adequate energy but not bursting at the seams) then I just workout a little all day, which is easy with two, two year old's for company. Then, on days where I feel more energetic (2-3x/week) I'll do 15 minutes of intense kick boxing or sprinting or plyometrics and at the end of the day my insulin sensitivity doesn't sway too much. The days I skip entirely aren't too bad. But if I don't exercise for two days in a row I'm definitely giving a lot more insulin. Glad you're having fun experimenting with all this! I wish more people saw it that way! Glad you read Ginger's book, I would have loved to have had it years ago! All us diabetics need that kind of info eventually, once we get the basics down.