There are a few steps that you can take to aid recovery after exercising.
Reduce insulin after exercise
You will need less insulin after you exercise because insulin works better for quite a long time afterwards.
A good place to start is with the “50/50/20” rule:
- 50% REDUCTION in quick-acting (bolus) insulin for the TWO meals after exercise e.g. if you exercise in the afternoon, you reduce your quick-acting insulin with both your evening meal AND your breakfast the following day
- 50% REDUCTION in correction doses for 12 hours after exercise
- 20% REDUCTION in background (basal) insulin if:
- Exercising after 4 pm
- Over 2 hours of exercise
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT) at any time of the day
Refuel with additional carbohydrate & protein
If you have done more than 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or more than 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise, you will need to ‘refuel’ with additional carbohydrate and protein e.g. (milkshakes, cereal).
Generally you should aim for 1g/kg carbohydrate and 0.2 kg protein in your recovery snack, for example if you weigh 70 kg, you will need 70 grams of carbohydrate and 14 g of protein.
Consider eating a suitable bedtime snack if you:
- have exercised after 4pm
- have done more than 2 hours of exercise
It is important to keep hydrated
Make sure that you drink plenty of water or other liquids to stay hydrated. The body can lose a lot of fluid during exercise and dehydration can increase your blood glucose levels.
Activity after exercise can help manage blood glucose
If your blood glucose levels are high, then completing a warm down routine such as a brisk walk, jog or cycle, can help to bring them down.
If your blood glucose is low (but not more than 4 mmol/L), a 10 second sprint or other anaerobic activity can help bring them up.
Remember 10 second sprints are NOT a treatment for hypoglycaemia (blood glucose level of less than 4 mmol/L).