Effect of aerobic and anaerobic exercises on glycemic control in type 1 diabetic youths

World J Diabetes. 2015 Apr 15;6(3):534-42. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v6.i3.534.


Aim: To evaluate the long-term effect of aerobic and/or anaerobic exercise on glycemic control in youths with type 1 diabetes.

Methods: Literature review was performed in spring and summer 2014 using PubMed/MEDLINE, Google Scholar, Scopus, and ScienceDirect with the following terms: aerobic, anaerobic, high-intensity, resistance, exercise/training, combined with glycemic/metabolic control, glycated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and type 1 diabetes. Only peer-reviewed articles in English were included published in the last 15 years. It was selected from 1999 to 2014. Glycemic control was measured with HbA1c. Studies with an intervention lasting at least 12 wk were included if the HbA1c was measured before and after the intervention.

Results: A total of nine articles were found, and they were published between the years of 2002-2011. The sample size was 401 diabetic youths (166 males and 235 females) with an age range of 10-19 years except one study, in which the age range was 13-30 years. Study participants were from Australia, Tunisia, Lithuania, Taiwan, Turkey, Brazilia, Belgium, Egypt and France. Four studies were aerobic-based, four were combined aerobic and anaerobic programs, and one compared aerobic exercise to anaerobic one. Available studies had insufficient evidence that any type of exercise or combined training would clearly improve the glycemic control in type 1 diabetic youth. Only three (two aerobic-based and one combined) studies could provide a significant positive change in glycemic control.

Conclusion: The regular physical exercise has several other valuable physiological and health benefits that justify the inclusion of exercise in pediatric diabetes treatment and care.

Keywords: Aerobic; Anaerobic; Exercise; Glycemic control; Type 1 diabetes mellitus.