Rugby is a sport that requires the exertion of an extreme amount of energy and physicality that demands aerobic endurance of high intensity over a long period. Playing a one-off game of rugby can be relatively easy to manage, given the right preparation, whereas regular players will need to maintain a comprehensive log of their blood glucose trends. This can be done by taking regular blood glucose tests during both matches and training. However, as always, it is best to contact your healthcare professional for the best advice on how to do this.
Diabetes management when playing rugby
Strength training with type 1 diabetes
The development of rugby has now meant that almost every player on the pitch is required to be strong. This is normally developed through anaerobic weight training and a starchy diet. This is especially true for people that play in the forwards. For regular players, the need to go to the gym and follow a diet that is based around carbohydrates will increase, and therefore, so will your blood glucose management. Contact your healthcare professional for advice on the best way to manage this.
Type 1 diabetes: managing your insulin for training
If you’re training is in the morning, then your doctor or nurse may advise a small injection of insulin alongside a large breakfast, or perhaps no injection at all. However, both of these variables are dependent on the intensity of the training you are taking part in. And, you must discuss this with a healthcare professional first as the advice given for this is assessed on a case by case basis.
For an afternoon training session, your doctor or nurse may advise that there is no need for an insulin injection if you have eaten lunch or a small portion of carbohydrate, providing that your blood sugars were between 6 and 9 mmol/L prior to lunch. But, again, before changing any part of your diabetes management, including your insulin regimen, contact your healthcare professional for clarification on the best course of action to take.
No matter the time of day, it is generally recommended that blood glucose tests should be taken every 30-45 minutes during a training session.
Type 1 diabetes: managing your insulin for match days
Game days are going to be very similar to a training session in regards to insulin doses and food consumption prior to the match. However, there are additional factors, such as an increase in adrenaline that may affect your blood sugars in ways you are not expecting. Taking a blood glucose test before the game, during half time, and after the game will help you be able to determine specific trends in your blood sugar levels.
If you test low, then taking a hypo treatment during stoppages in play may be required. There are ways in which to reduce the chances of hypos, including adjusting you insulin doses in the build up to a game, but you must discuss this with a healthcare professional first as the advice given for this is assessed on a case by case basis.
Type 2 diabetes and rugby
If you have been prescribed insulin or insulin stimulating medication then you may need to add to your carbohydrate intake or reduce the dosage of these medications. However, you need to speak to your healthcare professional before making any changes to the dosage of your medication.
If you have a blood sugar testing machine, make sure you are testing your blood glucose levels frequently during and after you exercise to keep a track of whether your blood sugars are dropping.
One last tip
You ought to take particular care of your feet during periods of exercise. So purchase boots that are comfortable and consistently check your feet for any changes.
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