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A recent study shows how type 1 diabetics can benefit from cardiovascular exercise while maintaining a good blood sugar level if they exercise in a particular order.
Studies show that exercise is a great prevention method for any number of health conditions we are at risk of. Exercise is a natural means of controlling blood sugar levels, and in a regularly active person, can help to regulate blood glucose levels in the long term. For diabetics, this goes a long way in ensuring safe and steady blood sugar levels, regulating spikes and drops which can occur from from the foods that we eat in normal, pre-diabetic and diabetic individuals.


In individuals with type I diabetes, controlling blood sugar levels is more difficult as the function of the pancreas can almost never be helped. However, in keeping healthy, many diabetics are often happy to engage in exercise as long as it doesn't pose a serious problem when it comes to severely dropping energy levels. To maintain a safe level, blood sugar, also known as blood glucose levels, should be between 4 and 10 mmols/L.

In this experiment conducted at the University of Calgary in Canada, a team of researchers led by Dr Ronald Sigal, an endocrinologist, examined the effect that cardiovascular training has on blood sugar levels. The participants in the study included 10 men and two women with type I diabetes, who averaged 32 years of age. They were all regular exercisers, engaging in weight training and/or cardio training at least three times per week.

Just 5% of all Americans with diabetes suffer from type I, which is developed in childhood. This makes  up for 1.3 million Americans who have type 1 diabetes. Diabetes can also be developed through lifestyle habits, and is called type II.

In this study, the group completed two versions of the exact same workout just days apart, at the same time of day. Though not much else was controlled for in the study, including prior activities, food intake and various other hormone levels. The first workout for the participants was 45 minutes of cardio followed by 45 minutes of weight training. The second was the reverse order of the same workout.


If, at any time, the participants blood sugar dropped to 4.5mmol/L, they were asked to take a break and have a snack for safety reasons. The study concluded that it is much safer for diabetics to do weight training before cardio, because of how the order of exercise effected their blood sugar levels. The significant drop in blood glucose at the end of the 45 minutes of cardio led to possibly dangerously low levels for the rest of the workout. However, when the order was reversed, weight training caused a smaller drop in glucose levels, and was better maintained through the remainder of the workout.

This is not the first time a study has shown these results. Weight training causes a less severe drop in blood glucose levels, and diabetics who do cardiovascular training last in their routine have more energy through the overall workout, and right to the end.

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