Why should people with type 1 diabetes exercise regularly?

Acta Diabetol. 2017 Jul;54(7):615-630. doi: 10.1007/s00592-017-0978-x. Epub 2017 Mar 14.


Plethoric evidence reminds of the protective effects of exercise against a number of health risks, across all ages, in the general population. The benefits of exercise for individuals with type 2 diabetes are indisputable. An in-depth understanding of energy metabolism has reasonably entailed exercise as a cornerstone in the lifestyle of almost all subjects with type 1 diabetes. Nevertheless, individuals with type 1 diabetes often fail in accomplishing exercise guidelines and they are less active than their peer without diabetes. Two major obstacles are feared by people with type 1 diabetes who wish to exercise regularly: management of blood glucose control and hypoglycemia. Nowadays, strategies, including glucose monitoring technology and insulin pump therapy, have significantly contributed to the participation in regular physical activity, and even in competitive sports, for people with type 1 diabetes. Novel modalities of training, like different intensity, interspersed exercise, are as well promising. The beneficial potential of exercise in type 1 diabetes is multi-faceted, and it has to be fully exploited because it goes beyond the insulin-mimetic action, possibly through immunomodulation.

Keywords: Autoimmunity; Glucose monitoring; Hypoglycemia; Immunomodulation; Insulin pump.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Healthy Lifestyle / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin Infusion Systems


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin