Sports that raise BG: how do you deal with them?

This year I have had to shovel a lot. My brother is in college, and also we have a lot of snow. So I use shoveling as a sports activity.

But, for me, it seems that shoveling raises my BG enough that I have to take a few units of insulin.

Is shoveling a type of sports activity that normally raises BG with most people? How do you know that a sport will raise your BG, in general?

How do you deal with these sports? I know how to manage sports that lower your BG, but those that raise your BG not so much. Some things I can figure out: increase basal 45 minutes before, small boluses ahead of time, refuel the same way as other sports. Is there a method I don’t know?

I am not worried about shoveling BG: it’s not hard to dose for it. But I’d like to know how to deal with these sports in general.


Pre-bolus and start low (make sure you have reserves for your liver to dump). Sounds scary but for me a 2mi running race (super high intensity) will raise me from 80 to 250 in less than 15min.

Adrenaline and intensity raise my bg. Short races (<5k) raise it a lot. Races 10k-13mi and intense training like track workouts raise it some (I’d put shoveling in this category). I have to ask my swim coach if it will be a hard or easy practice since an easy practice will lower my bg and a hard one will spike it.

I rarely mess with my basal on mdi but a pre-bolus up to 2 units (2 for the first category and 1 for the second). Its not enough to completely prevent the spike but it keeps it in the high 100s. I’m ready with food/insulin after…


Just wait Kaelan, you are about to enter high school with your sports, and that will require trips to the weight room, where you will learn all about raising your bg with weights.

Seriously though, shoveling is a lot like weight lifting, and whenever Cody lifts, his bg goes up. We usually give a little insulin to blunt the effect once we see it going up, but be really careful and use a light touch, because the exercise also makes your insulin more effective. A little goes a long way. Also, it is kind of fun to watch your muscles take back the glucose they dumped during the exercise once you stop the workout, you can see the extra drop that you won’t expect as that happens.

Cody says to remember that this is what happens when you lift heavy, when you lift lightly it doesn’t spike, so make sure you lift hard if you dosed!


Kaelen, I play ice hockey and have found that a small bolus (for me usually 2 units) about 11/2 or 2 hours before a game, together with some carbs such as an apple will help a lot. Before I started doing this I would spike after games, not usually during.

I always monitor the BG trend up to game time and sometimes will either have 15g fast carbs (if around 100 or lower and dropping) or 2 more units (if above about 175 and rising) right before game time. I keep glucose gel on the bench in case I am headed low and drink diluted PowerAde during games. This seems to work pretty well for me…but I am 61 yrs old and you are a lot younger so will need to figure out your own routine.

I stick to a very predictable pre game meal about 3+ hours before game time so I can start off my routine on a good BG trend. I also wear the CGM receiver under my pads and check it occasionally during games. The CGM is useful after games to see what was happening and figure out how to bolus for the after game food. I only had an alarm go off once and that was before I had my routine dialed in.

I always have to bolus for after game food/carbs. For me it takes a few hours for the dropping BG to really kick in after sports. If you wear a CGM you should watch for this drop and figure out how to handle after sports bolus/food with this in mind.