Effects of Different Types of Acute and Chronic (Training) Exercise on Glycaemic Control in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
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- Tonoli, C., Heyman, E., Roelands, B. et al. Sports Med (2012) 42: 1059. doi:10.1007/BF03262312
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Exercise has been accepted and generally recommended for the management of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) and for improving the overall quality of life in affected individuals. This meta-analysis was conducted to determine the overall effects of exercise (acute bouts of exercise and chronic exercise [or training]) on acute and chronic glycaemic control in patients with T1D, the effects of different types of exercise on glycaemic control and which conditions are required to obtain these positive effects.
PubMed, ISI Web of Knowledge and SPORTDiscus™ were consulted to identify studies on T1D and exercise. Cohen’s d statistics were used for calculating mean effect sizes (ES) as follows: small d = 0.3, medium d = 0.5 and large d = 0.8. Ninety-five percent confidence intervals (95% CIs) were used to establish the significance of our findings.
From a total of 937 studies, 33 that met the inclusion criteria were selected. Nine studies were used to calculate the ES of a single bout of aerobic exercise; 13 studies to calculate the ES of aerobic training; 2 studies to calculate the ES of strength training; 4 studies to calculate the ES of combined (aerobic and strength) training and 6 studies to calculate the ES of high-intensity exercise (HIE) and training. ES for exercise on acute glycaemic control were large, while they were small for chronic glycaemic control. Aerobic exercise, resistance exercise, mixed exercise (aerobic combined with resistance training) and HIE acutely decreased blood glucose levels. To prevent late-onset hypoglycaemic episodes, the use of single bouts of sprints into an aerobic exercise can be recommended. This meta-analysis also showed that a regular exercise training programme has a significant effect on acute and chronic glycaemic control, although not all exercise forms showed significant results. Specifically, aerobic training is a favourable tool for decreasing chronic glycaemic control, while resistance training, mixed and HIE did not significantly improve chronic glycaemic control. Although, this meta-analysis showed there was a tendency for improvement in glycaemic control due to resistance training or resistance training combined with endurance training, there were not enough studies and/or subjects to confirm this statistically.
Based on this meta-analysis, we can conclude that the addition of brief bouts of high-intensity, sprint-type exercise to aerobic exercise can minimize the risk of sustaining a hypoglycaemic episode. We can also conclude that only regular aerobic training will improve the glycated haemoglobin level of a patient with T1D.