Type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients on insulin pumps stand to benefit by engaging in aerobic exercise, showed a recent 3-month observational study on two groups of diabetics. The patients in the study group who engaged in aerobic exercise benefited by improving their metabolic control and reducing their insulin requirement as compared to those who did not exercise.
They also witnessed a reduction in the number of hyperglycemic events which they experienced. The clinical study, which focused on middle-aged T1D patients on insulin pump therapy, aimed at gathering data on metabolic activity and inflammatory and autoimmune parameters.
Having conducted similar studies previously with animals modelled with T1D, the researchers hypothesised that aerobic, physical activity might also positively regulate autoimmunity and help prevent diabetes-related complications in humans.
Co-author Livio Luzi said, “We found that being physically active can improve glycemic control for patients with type 1 diabetes. Our results suggest that an educational program addressed to T1D patients, and focused on insulin injecting monitoring, diet, and exercise, is highly advantageous for management of T1D.”
According to the researchers, the six patients in the exercise arm of the study (ACT) seemed to have more responsible behaviour in monitoring their glucose levels when compared to the seven study patients who did not exercise and were sedentary (SED). They concluded that further studies with larger groups of participants should be carried out, but t their results on a small number of patients should be considered primary predictors of exercise-induced metabolic improvements in T1D patients.
“The current study provides physiological data that demonstrate exercise is an important factor in improving and managing type 1 diabetes,” said Rodolfo Alejandro, another researcher. “With the increasing rate of diabetes, including an exercise program as part of treatment is highly recommended and, when coupled with insulin therapy, may yield better results for patients. Future studies should explore mechanisms of action related to exercise-mediated immunomodulation with a larger sample of the population,” she added. The study was published in Cell Transplantation.