Sporadic exercise and insulin use

How soon after exercise do you find insulin use decreases? And how long after not exercising does insulin use increase again?

Samson was using about 12-14 units of insulin, but we recently put him in an outdoor camp pod (6 kids, all masked, all outside). Anyways, since then his average insulin usage is about 8 to 9 units – but then he has four days a week with no camp (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays). And yesterday (Friday) his insulin use went up to 13 units again. I’m just trying to figure out a way to anticipate these dips and spikes and remind myself to change them before we have a day of highs or lows.

The outdoor activities are hiking, biking, and soccer mostly, although some days they do boogie boarding when it’s warm enough.


It depends on a few things. You can’t really take one person’s recovery time and apply it to Samson, because there are several things that apply individually.

The general things that affect the length of time it takes for your TDD to return to normal levels depends on:

  1. the intensity of the activity
  2. the duration of the activity
  3. the time it takes to get full glycogen replenishment (i.e. - how many carbs he’s eating)
  4. overall fitness level (the more fit you are, the shorter the recovery time)

So for example, if he was eating a lot of carbs during the recovery time, his return to normal basal might be 1 day, versus if he was eating less it might be 2 days.

And each day of camp will have different levels of activity, so it depends on things like hiking (relatively low intensity but longer duration) vs soccer (relatively high intensity but probably shorter duration).

Formulas are hard for things like this because no 2 days are the same with camp activities. But in general, more successive days of activity will mean less insulin, and after a few days of recovery (like weekends), it will go up more, back to normal TDD.

Maybe if you can get a list of planned activities you can put together a good outline of where to start. After each day, ask him about what he did, how tired he was, and so forth. Find out from him how much exercise he got, and use that as a guideline. How tired are you from camp today?


I find, as someone who is generally not very active but then can suddenly have days where I’m much more so, that there are immediate effects during exercise and extended effects that tend to last about 12-24 hours, I assume due to changes in glycogen release/use. After that, back to my normal generally.

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