How-to-Guide to Hiking with Diabetes

As a native Oklahoman, I can say that hiking is not part of our DNA. I am a flatlander by birth.

That being said, hiking contributes significantly to why I love waking up each day. The challenge, smells, camaraderie, and drinking beers afterward on the tailgate, make up the appreciation I have for glorified walking.

Most summers I travel out to the Rocky Mountain National Park , outside of Estes Park, CO. Yesterday, I took off on a hike with my grandpa (yeah, he’s 70) to Bluebird Lake (13 miles roundtrip). We covered about 2500 feet of elevation gain pretty gradually with a steep climb to the lake nestled next to Ouzel Peak. We hiked and explored for roughly 8 hours. This can be a real challenge for a diabetic.

Over time, I’ve come up with a flexible gameplan and approach to going out on hikes. These ideas are based on being away from civilization for over 3 hours. (This is not medical advice. Ryan is not a physician.)

– I bring a good mix of food and drink, consisting of complex and simple carbs and fats and proteins
o Juice Box
o 2 Liters of water or more (Camelbak)
o Clif Bar or Larabar
o Trail Mix
o Almond butter wrap or sandwich
o Granola
o Banana

– I tune down the pump to about 40-50% of the normal basal rate, if doing a strenuous hike. If it’s a shorter 2-4 mile hike, I do not change the basal rate.

– I usually don’t bolus for snacks consumed if doing a strenuous, high heart rate hike. If it’s a more casual hike, I give a conservative bolus for food.

– Healthy fats found in trail mix and almond butter help to stabilize the blood sugars over time without giving you too many simple sugars.

– I eat a small snack on the way up. At the destination, I have a decent sized serving. Then I usually eat one more snack on the way down.

– On the way up, I sometimes encounter a low. That’s what the Gatorade or banana is for. I rest for about 10 minutes until I can tell that my mind is back.

Hope everyone is enjoying summer. Happy hiking! If you hear something growling or purring at you, it’s probably too late to do anything but at least you were out moving around!

Know what we’re talking about? Feel free to share your own experience below!

2 thoughts on “How-to-Guide to Hiking with Diabetes

  1. Pingback: A Simple Routine For A Smooth Day Of Hiking With Diabetes | Diabetes Daily Grind

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