Exercising with an insulin pump

An insulin pump is one of the best ways to match your insulin needs to exercise.

One of the best way to match your insulin needs

Wearing an insulin pump like the OneTouch Ping® does not need to interfere with your activity level. Just take a look at our Animas Pumpers who participate in everything from paddling to snowboarding, from hockey to triathlons, and even go-karting!

Insulin needs change during exercise or whenever your activity level is higher than usual. Learning how to think and act like a pancreas is crucial to help you maintain optimal blood glucose (BG) control. Using an insulin pump offers you one of the best ways to match your insulin needs during these times.

It's important to realize that the same activity can have very different effects on BG from one person to another. There are even times when different activities can result in different effects in the same person.

Spontaneously and precisely adjust insulin levels

In general, during increased physical activity, BG levels drop and you need less insulin. This is because your body is working harder and uses up glucose for the extra fuel the muscles need.

In people without diabetes, the body automatically reduces the level of insulin during exercise. People with diabetes need to either adjust their insulin or eat extra food to compensate. Insulin pumpers have the luxury of being able to spontaneously and precisely adjust insulin levels.

Exercising and getting started on a pump

When you first start on the pump, your healthcare professional and/or diabetes educator may ask you to refrain from doing exercise for a little while. This may be helpful as everyone (including you!) is working to get your basal rates on target. If you have a very consistent exercise routine, this becomes less of an issue. Check with your healthcare professional and/or diabetes educator for his or her specific recommendation.

How is an insulin pump worn?

Most pumps are so small and discreet, no one has to know you're wearing one unless you want them to. Plus, there are so many accessories available, you have many options to choose from.

Your healthcare professional can help you determine the best way to wear your pump during your favourite activities.

*Always check with your healthcare provider prior to starting an exercise program for specific recommendations.

General exercise tips

  1. If your BG is 14.0 mmol/L or greater prior to exercise, check to see if you have ketones. Treat this problem. Exercise under the guidance of your healthcare professional.
  2. Wear medical identification.
  3. Check BG before, during and after activity to establish your specific patterns. Keep written records!
  4. Try the same exercise at different times of the day to see if your glucose response differs depending on the time of day.
  5. Carry carbohydrates to treat low BG.
  6. Drink plenty of water to stay properly hydrated.
  7. Before you begin exercising with an insulin pump, talk to your healthcare professional and/or diabetes educator to get help on adjusting your insulin doses.
  8. Consult with an exercise specialist who is experienced with diabetes management.

The information made available on the Animas website is not intended to be used or viewed as a substitute for consultation with a healthcare professional. The information provided on this site cannot be the basis for diagnosis or therapy. You are advised to obtain professional advice and should always discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare team.