Working out with weights lowers blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetes

Resistance Versus Aerobic Exercise: Acute effects on glycemia in type 1 diabetes. By Jane E. Yardley and colleagues. Diabetes Care, March 2013, pages 537–542

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Exercise is important for people with diabetes, helping with blood glucose control among other health benefits. Less clear is what types of exercise work best in those with type 1 diabetes, both for lowering blood glucose but also for preventing dangerous lows.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

The researchers wanted to compare the immediate and prolonged effects of resistance training versus aerobic exercise on blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes.

Who was studied?

The study included 12 fit individuals with type 1 diabetes.

How was the study done?

Participants either did 45 minutes of weight training, 45 minutes of aerobic exercise, or no exercise on separate days. Researchers tracked their blood glucose levels for 24 hours before, during, and 24 hours after exercise with continuous glucose monitoring.

What did the researchers find?

During exercise, blood glucose dropped lower in those doing aerobic exercise than those doing resistance training. However, over the next 24 hours, those who had done resistance training had lower levels overall than those who had done aerobic exercise. There was a slight trend toward mild hypoglycemia after resistance training as well.

What were the limitations of the study?

The study included only a few participants.

What are the implications of the study?

In active people with type 1 diabetes, resistance training may result in more stable blood glucose levels both during and after a workout. However, the risk for low blood glucose overnight needs to be considered.

  • Last Reviewed: September 13, 2013
  • Last Edited: October 7, 2013