Pilates with Type 1 Diabetes: Lauren’s Follow-Up Story

Prior to Pilates, exercise was a struggle for me.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 27 years old.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.

Before Pilates, I would go to the gym with my husband.  I went because I felt like I needed to do some sort of exercise not necessarily because I enjoyed it. Thinking up different exercises to do each day made it a difficult plan. I would often just repeat the same workouts.  

Cardio makes my blood sugar go low and weight lifting makes me go high so it was a constant battle and honestly would make me want to not even work out.  With Pilates, I rarely ever have an issue with my blood sugar! I’m glad I finally have an exercise that I enjoy doing that doesn’t have a huge effect on my blood sugar.

My good friend and boss Angela Gage who owns Club Pilates Central Phoenix introduced me to Pilates! 

I had worked for her for about 6 years now. So when she was opening her Club Pilates studio she had asked me to also help out with her studio! I figured it would be a good time to try a class so I would be knowledgeable about Pilates.  Little did I know I was going to love it and still go multiple times a week since April 2018!   

Type 1 diabetes is a full-time job with no breaks. I would say the most challenging thing about it is accurately calculating how many carbs I am eating and dosing properly.  If I count my carbs incorrectly, my blood sugar could end up going high or low. There are also many other factors that I have to take into consideration when dosing like exercise, stress, time of day, hormones, sleep…. the list goes on!  I always eat a salad with some protein before class.  I try to eat low carb so that I don’t have to give myself too much insulin before I work out.  If I have a lot of insulin in my body prior to working out, that can cause me to go low. I find the salad and protein gives me the energy I need for class!  

I work from home so, although I speak to people over the phone, I don’t interact with people face to face during the day. This gives me something to look forward to when going to Pilates!  Even on the days when I am not feeling like I want to go (which honestly doesn’t happen very often), I am always happy that I force myself to go because I always feel better after the experience. On top of that, my blood sugars tend to be more stable on the days that I exercise. This is extremely beneficial to my mental and physical health.    

Pilates has made me stronger, more flexible and my body is more toned. 

I am way more confident with my body since doing Pilates! I definitely did not expect to make so many new friends – I was pleasantly surprised!  

The biggest challenge Pilates has helped me with is maintaining a good A1C.  Your A1C is an average of your blood sugars over a period of 3 months.  Last year I was nervous to do a level 2 class because I wasn’t confident in my abilities and I was worried about my blood sugar.  Now I love level 2 classes and take them often!  

Pilates has been so good for my blood sugars and overall strength and well-being. 

A tip I have to those living with diabetes would be to keep glucose tabs next to your Reformer. I also have a Dexcom, which is a continuous glucose monitor that connects to a little PDM I can keep next to my Reformer, so I always know what my blood sugar is.  If I see I am starting to trend down, I will pop in a glucose tab and continue with class!  

Aside from looking forward to a good workout, I look forward to seeing the instructors and my favorite workout buddy – my mom!  My mom started going to Pilates with me and has been going for over a year now. She loves it just as much as I do!

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