Dancing for a child with diabetes: how to stop nervous parents and cope with hypoglycemia

Parents have certain fears of whether to send a child with diabetes to dance or sports. Will he/she cope on his/her own if blood sugar drops after physical activity? I share my experience of how I returned to Georgian dancing after my diagnosis.

Georgian folk dances do not leave anyone indifferent! Just don’t say that you have never heard of the legendary Georgian dance show Sukhishvili . By the way, they are just touring Russia and you have a chance to touch the Georgian culture.

My family is very sensitive to the Georgian heritage. That is why I have been going to dance classes since childhood, from about the age of 6. You can’t resist the call of blood.

And now I’m 10 years old – hello diabetes. A week in intensive care, 1.5 months in the hospital, difficulties in choosing the dosage of insulin. For some time I did not attend school, and dancing was not even discussed.

A few months later, I started a conversation with my mother that I wanted to dance again, and in general it was time to return to my usual life! I didn’t have to persuade, because my mother understood that restricting me because of the fear of low sugar was not the best way. She always believed that independence should be learned from childhood, otherwise difficulties cannot be avoided later. So I went back to dance class.

How to deal with the fear of hypoglycemia?

Let’s start with the fact that I was well drilled according to the rules for stopping hypoglycemia. It is very important to understand what is happening and what needs to be done in order to approach everything with a cool head and knowledge of the matter when risks increase.

Mom talked to the teacher and my older brother also went to classes with me. If something goes wrong with me, then help should arrive in time. I understood all the responsibility and knew what to do during active physical activities, but the safety net provided peace of mind.

The first workout went with a drop in sugar, which I stopped myself and, I must say, it was the best lesson, the result of which I am proud of!
Then everything happened by trial and error. Now I can single out a kind of system that can help parents and children who want to continue doing what they love.

  • Explain to the child how his body works and what to do during physical activity and the risk of hypoglycemia.

I (and my mother) got rid of fears when I tried myself “in the field” several times. Each time I realized more and more that I can control the state myself. This is very motivating!

  • Develop a nutrition system and a plan for measuring sugar.

For example:
1.5-2 hours before training, I eat a small amount of complex carbohydrates. I also usually reduce the supply of bolus insulin. I make an exception only if I see that the level of glycemia is high or begins to rise.
I always take fast carbohydrates with me. It is better to take a couple of extra packs of juice than to panic later. During an intense workout, I usually remove the pump. Pre-eaten carbohydrates do not help my body more often – sugar will fall. I control sugar before starting a workout, at least 2-3 times during, and also more often within a few hours after, since the hypoglycemic effect can last 12-24 hours. You should also have a supply of test strips.
It is especially important to increase self-control if you do not feel a drop in glucose levels. Low blood sugar can be confused with exercise fatigue.

Research shows a link between improved compensation and physical activity, which is a huge reason for dancing or sports.

Do you want your child to be happy? Let him try to cope on his own and do what he loves. Overprotection only reinforces the child’s fears and self-doubt. All you need is knowledge, a couple of juices, and more frequent sugar checks.


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