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In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and kills cells in the pancreas, the Canadian Diabetes Association says. Since no or very little insulin is released, people with Type 1 diabetes need to inject insulin.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation funded the new consensus review by 21 international experts on the best types of exercise, foods to eat and adjustments to insulin and other medications that people with Type 1 diabetes need to make when they work out.
“The first person who discovered that exercise had an effect on blood sugar was a physician who was living with Type 1 diabetes in the early 1920s,” said Michael Riddell, a kinesiology professor at York University in Toronto, one of the authors of the review. “He discovered that when he played tennis, that exact same insulin dose was almost double effective at dropping the blood sugar levels compared to when he was sedentary.”
But people with Type 1 diabetes have had to rely on trial and error in juggling nutrition and insulin doses to prevent exercise-related fluctuations in their blood sugar.
“The main recommendation in these new consensus guidelines is on what types of carbohydrates to eat and when to eat them, when to monitor your blood sugar,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
According to Riddell, it’s best to test:
For adults with Type 1, Riddell said the exercise prescription is two-fold:
The guideline also offers recommendations for aerobic exercise, such as how to lower the insulin dose on the day of the work out. For more intense activities like hockey or mixed martial arts, Riddell said the guide describes how to safely increase the insulin dose to manage the stress associated with those types of exercises.