Purpose of review: Physical activity is a fundamental part of lifestyle management in diabetes care. Although its benefits are very well recognized in the general population and in people with type 2 diabetes, much less is known about the effects of exercise in type 1 diabetes. In particular, exercise effects in relation to diabetic kidney disease (DKD) are understudied. Some uncertainties about physical activity recommendations stem from the fact that strenuous exercise may worsen albuminuria immediately after the activity. However, in middle-aged and older adults without diabetes, observational studies have suggested that physical activity is associated with a decreased risk of rapid kidney function deterioration. In this review, we focus on the role of physical activity in patients with DKD and type 1 diabetes.
Recent findings: Hereby, we present data that show that in individuals at risk of DKD or with established DKD, regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was associated with reduced incidence and progression of DKD, as well as reduced risk of cardiovascular events and mortality. Therefore, regular moderate-to-vigorous exercise should become a central part of the management of individuals with type 1 diabetes, in the absence of contraindications and accompanied with all needed educational support for optimal diabetes management.
Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Diabetic kidney disease; Exercise; Physical activity; Type 1 diabetes.