In order to maximise performance the priority aims are twofold.
  • Attention to hydration is a primary goal, it should be consistently maintained by regular fluid intake to match the losses during the exercise.
  • Second, sufficient carbohydrate intake will be required to provide fuel for working muscles and for the maintenance of blood glucose levels.
The amount and type of carbohydrate depends upon the duration and intensity of exercise. Some sports such as sprinting are high intensity, football may be an intermittently high intensity activity while golf is generally considered low intensity.

Short duration anaerobic high intensity exercises have a risk in the diabetic athlete of hyperglycaemia (when blood sugar levels become too high). The insulin and carbohydrate requirements will be quite different from the longer duration moderate intensity aerobic endurance sports where the main problem for the diabetic athlete is hypoglycaemia (when blood sugar levels are too low).

The difference between short high intensity and long moderate intensity sports results from the different usage and availability of glucose stores from liver and muscle.

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