Bicycling with diabetes

Todays' KCStar has an article on exercising with Type I and Type II diabetes:

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 30 years ago, [Dr. James] Desemone works with many athletes with diabetes, from hockey players to cyclists.

The key, he says, is setting up a regimen using insulin injections or a pump to mimic the functioning of a normal pancreas during exercise, adjusting how much insulin is given to the body and when. Drinking enough liquids is also important to maintain correct blood sugar levels, he said.

Paula Harper, 61, started the Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association in 1985, a nonprofit group with about 3,000 members in North America and Europe. A longtime runner and nurse who has competed in 35 marathons, Harper was frustrated trying to come up with the right formula to keep her blood sugar level up over long distances.

"When I started, it was all trial-and-error," said Harper, a diabetic since 1972. "And trial-and-error can get you in trouble sometimes." . . .

A recent National Institutes of Health study showed that 58 percent of people with pre-diabetes - where blood sugar is elevated but not to the level of type 2 diabetes - staved off type 2 diabetes by exercising moderately 30 minutes a day and by cutting their weight by 5 to 10 percent.

"I so firmly believe exercise is important for everybody, but especially for diabetes," Harper said. Her organization is "trying to help people with type 1 exercise safely and give those with type 2 the motivation to get off the couch."
Harper's Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association is online at http://www.diabetes-exercise.org.