New Sports Camp for Adults with Type 1 Diabetes

Swimming. Carb counting. Bicycling. Blood sugar tests. Sounds like a summer camp for kids with type 1 diabetes, right? But this camp is different. It’s for adults with type 1.

Designed for those with type 1 diabetes who consider fitness a priority, “Stroke, Spin, Stride” is the first training camp to support and train adults to manage their type 1 diabetes at all levels of sports participation.

The specialized sports training camp is the brainchild of endocrinologist Matthew H. Corcoran MD, CDE, a board member of the Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association (DESA). “I meet experts in the world of exercise sciences and the world of clinical diabetes care all over the country,” he says. “They are all so passionate and knowledgeable about what they do, it was like, well let’s bring everyone together to one place and get all these great ideas into action.”

That one place — Allentown, Pennsylvania — was so popular that it has since spread to multiple locations. “Stroke, Spin, Stride” camps are now held in Arizona, Oregon and the Berkshires (western Massachusetts). Each day of camp is packed with sports clinics, workshops, workout sessions, lab testing, and lectures on subjects ranging from Goal Setting to Hydration to Exercise-Induced Hyper- and Hypoglycemia. The schedule is intense, Corcoran concedes, but he encourages casual exercise enthusiasts to come, too. “We’ll have a separate program designed for people with type 1 who don’t consider themselves athletes at all,” he says. “You know, who simply want to learn more about how to manage their type 1 diabetes more effectively through exercise.”

Coaches and medical/exercise specialists on the camp’s team range from an Olympian bicyclist to a hydration and nutrition expert, all selected for their knowledge and expertise in their own skill area plus their understanding of athletes with type 1 diabetes.

The camp’s lead exercise physiologist, Dr. Michael Riddell, has had type 1 for 24 years. An associate professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University, Riddell says his interest in research started when he experienced frequent hypoglycemic events after exercise. “I loved playing basketball and all sorts of other sports in high school, says Riddell, who was 15 years old when diagnosed with type 1. “At the time, there were very few recommendations for active children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes.”

Still an active athlete, Riddell says exercise helps him maintain a healthy body weight with a fairly modest amount of daily insulin needs. “I’m looking forward to meeting others who exercise and compete while attempting to maintain control over their diabetes.”

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