During my early days as a physical activity activist for the Type 1 Diabetes community I was often confronted with the argument ‘there’s research out there showing exercise can have negative effects on glycaemic control.’ At a personal level this used to do my head in because even back then I couldn’t imagine managing diabetes without being active. Over the years I’ve been following the literature and it seems the majority of negative glycaemic control outcomes for people with T1D are related to irregular participation in physical activity. Somehow in some circles these results seemed to vindicate recommendations to avoid participation in physical activity because it complicated control. In reality doing anything at random would pose a challenge to T1D management.Recent studies have found glycaemic control to be better in individuals with T1D who are regularly physically active without increased risk of severe hypoglycaemia.
Take home message: Even with the educational challenges related to exercising with T1D diabetes health care professionals should strongly encourage and support participation in regular physical activity for people with T1D.
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Herbst A, Kordonouri O, Schwab KO, Schmidt F, Holl RW. Impact of Physical Activity on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Children With Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2007;30(8):2098-2100.
Schweiger B, Klingensmith G, Snell-Bergeon JK. Physical Activity in Adolescent Females with Type 1 Diabetes. International Journal of Pediatrics. 2010.
Valerio G, Spagnuolo MI, Lombardi F, et al. Physical activity and sports participation in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. 2007;17(5):376–382.