Type 1 diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to use sugars, starches, fats and proteins. Type 1 diabetics are unable to produce enough insulin to move the sugars and starches (known as glucose) into the muscle tissue.

Consequently, the glucose builds up in the blood and daily insulin injections are necessary to keep the blood glucose levels close to normal. If the glucose levels are not held in check, these individuals become highly susceptible to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and nervous system failure.

Exercise helps type 1 diabetics because glucose is used for movement and therefore, it is a way to counteract elevated glucose levels. Exercise does not bring glucose to normal levels, but a properly designed exercise program can help lower the amount of medication required.

For true effectiveness — type 1 diabetics should exercise a minimum of four to five times per week at a low to moderate intensity for 30 to 40 minutes and barring medical complications, the program should include a balance of aerobic, strength training and flexibility exercises.

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information resources: IDEA Health & Fitness Association and American Council on Exercise



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