Aerobic circuit exercise training: effect on adolescents with well-controlled insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1998 Jun;79(6):652-7. doi: 10.1016/s0003-9993(98)90039-9.


Objectives: To test the safety and effects of exercise conditioning on cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, muscle strength, glucose regulation, and lipid/cholesterol levels.

Subjects: Ten male adolescents with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) and 10 adolescent nondiabetic (ND) subjects.

Design: Pretest, posttest intervention trial with control group.

Setting: University-based human performance laboratory.

Intervention: Mixed endurance and calisthenic/strength activities performed at a rapid pace three times weekly for 12 weeks.

Results: Only one subject with IDDM experienced hypoglycemia after a single exercise session. Both subject groups improved their cardiorespiratory endurance (p < .05). Lean body mass of IDDM subjects increased by 3.5% (p < .05). Subjects with and without IDDM lowered their percent body fat (p < .05 and .001, respectively). Strength improvement of IDDM subjects ranged from 13.7% (p < .001) to 44.4% (p < .01), depending upon the maneuver. Fasting blood plasma glucose for all subjects was unchanged by training, but glycosylated hemoglobin A1c of IDDM subjects was reduced by .96 percentage point (p < .05). Reductions of HbA1c benefitted subjects exhibiting poor preconditioning glycemic control. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was decreased in subjects with IDDM (p < .05), but not total cholesterol or triglycerides.

Conclusion: Adolescents with IDDM undergoing aerobic circuit training improve their cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength, lipid profile, and glucose regulation. Aerobic circuit training is safe for properly trained and monitored adolescent diabetics.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Composition*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Weight Lifting*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol