Diabetes Can't Stop Us: Staying Active, Adventurous and Ambitious with Diabetes

This past week, I have had several followers ask some similar questions, and they’ve been bothering me.  I’ve been asked for diabetes exercise advice, how I can possible manage to stay active and not have my blood sugars drop, and, by parents, which sports they should allow (or not allow) their diabetic children to participate in. They have awesome intentions, but I believe the wrong questions are being asked.

First of all, my exercise advice for everyone, diabetic or not, is to find something you love. In order to stay fit, I like Crossfit, powerlifting, hiking, endurance cycling and running, playing basketball and volleyball with my friends, snowboarding and skiing in the winter, etc.—basically anything and everything! People have many opinions on what the best or most effective type of exercise is, but I say that the most important thing is that you find something you LOVE. The best exercise is the kind that is going to make you excited to turn of Netflix, get off the couch and get moving.

How do I stay active without my sugars dropping? I’m not magic—I don’t. I definitely am very careful about checking my glucose levels before, during and after a workout, but the truth is, sometimes I go low. It’s part of life [with diabetes]. How do I deal with it? I pause my workout, eat some carbs, take a short break and get back to it, but I never let it stop me, nor do I use it as an excuse to cut my workout short. That being said, while exercising, make sure you are careful. Test regularly, and always have carbs nearby. Every type of exercise will require a little different way of managing your sugars, but a few frustrating workouts should never keep you from staying active or doing what you love. Going to Crossfit for an hour is managed much differently from a day where I’m going to ride my bike 80 miles or run a half marathon. It may take time to learn to adjust to an exercise routine, but it shouldn’t stop you. Which leads me to the final question…

What sports or activities are safest for diabetics? It makes me really sad to think that a parent would ever instill the idea into their child’s mind that they can’t participate in some activities because of their disease. Sure, every time we are active, we are at a risk of dropping. Any time we are stressed, we know our sugars might go a little crazy. Should that scare us away from doing something we love? Of course not! Diabetes can make our lives, dreams, and goals more difficult, but it absolutely cannot make them impossible.

With diabetes, I have:
Summited Mount Idaho (elev. 12,065 ft.)

Skied the Swiss Alps

Traveled solo across 12 countries in Europe

Competed and set records in Powerlifting

Ridden my bike over 1,000 miles over the past two years

And, as of last week, survived the sleepless, stressful, but wonderful 
experience of competing for Miss America!

Did I have perfect blood sugars throughout all of my adventures? No! It was definitely a challenge to maintain an awesome a1C, but that didn't stop me, and it shouldn't stop you. 

This week, I want to hear what YOU have done with diabetes, and what you plan to do in the future! Complete this sentence: “with diabetes, I have…”, and let me know in the comments, or feel free to tweet me or tag me on Instagram!

Twitter: @sierra_anne93
Instagram: @sierra_anne_nicole

PO Box 6159
Twin Falls, ID 83303

Remember, we may have diabetes, but diabetes doesn’t have us!


  1. I adore you! I'm competing in Mrs Idaho and with my little sister having T1D I'm very passionate about diabetes education and awareness. You are an amazing role model and it was a true blessing to witness you win the title of Miss Idaho. Thank you for all that you do!

    Karissa Shaw
    Mrs Meridian Village

  2. With Diabetes, I have:
    Graduated High School.
    Nominated for Homecoming Queen.
    Won a Pageant.
    Raised $2500 For Diabetes research.
    And decided to follow my dream, and be in Miss Tennessee!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart Sierra, I am so glad God let me see your light!


  3. First of all, thank you Sierra, for all your support and awareness for T1D! You are amazing and so aspiring!

    I have been living with T1D for most of my life. I really don't know any other life than one with diabetes. I was diagnosed when I was 2, so I have been living with it for 20 yrs now. I agree with you and that parents should not limit their children just because they have this yucky disease. My mother (bless her soul for taking care of me so well all my life and being an amazing mom), she actually now regrets not putting me in more activities as a youngster. She admits now, that as a mother of a young child with T1D, she was scared to put me in activities, in fear of an emergency happening when she wasn't there. As I grew older, however, I DID participate in many activities! So I would advise parents of T1 diabetics to put them into as many activities as they can handle, and not hold them back! Otherwise, you might end up regretting it later.

    I, also, live an active lifestyle! I enjoy working out, but DO NOT enjoy the up's and down's with the blood sugars afterwards. Unfortunately, this is the life we were given and I'm going to make the best of it! I'm not going to let this disease control my decisions. I always tell myself that God gives His hardest battles to His toughest soldiers!

    With diabetes, I have:
    -Been apart of many teams; cross-country, high kick dance, tennis, track and field, golf
    -Went to nationals for FFA (go farmers!)
    -Graduated with my Bachelors degree in 3 short years!
    -Got accepted into Graduate school (pursuing a masters in Education)
    And someday, I get to add to this list of accomplishments, but I will call myself a "person who is cured from diabetes," because I know the cure is so close in our future!! Stay strong T1 diabetics! Our day will soon be here!!!

    (Sorry this got so long)