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Br J Sports Med. 1999 Jun;33(3):161-72; quiz 172-3, 222.

Diabetes and exercise.

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Centre for Sports Medicine, School of Biomedical Sciences, University Hospital, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, United Kingdom.


Exercise is frequently recommended in the management of type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus and can improve glucose uptake by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering body adiposity. Both alone and when combined with diet and drug therapy, physical activity can result in improvements in glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes. In addition, exercise can also help to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, in particular in those at higher risk, and has an important role in reducing the significant worldwide burden of this type of diabetes. Recent studies have improved our understanding of the acute and long term physiological benefits of physical activity, although the precise duration, intensity, and type of exercise have yet to be fully elucidated. However, in type 1 diabetes, the expected improvements in glycaemic control with exercise have not been clearly established. Instead significant physical and psychological benefits of exercise can be achieved while careful education, screening, and planning allow the metabolic, microvascular, and macrovascular risks to be predicted and diminished.

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