The Safest Exercises for Type 1 Diabetics

safest exercise for type 1 diabetics

Finding the safest exercise for type 1 diabetics is no simple task. Exercising for people with Type 1 diabetes can be a bit tricky because of the possibility of causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). Due to this, people with Type 1 diabetes have to monitor their blood sugar levels before, during, and after exercise.

Experts’ Findings and Opinions

In order to answer some of the questions about the safest exercises for type 1 diabetics, The Lancet Journal released a report in January 2017 entitled “Exercise management in type 1 diabetes: a consensus statement”. The report was compiled by a team of 21 international researchers and clinicians, and offers “guidelines on glucose targets for safe and effective exercising with T1D, as well as nutritional and insulin dose adjustments to prevent exercise-related fluctuations in blood sugar”.

One of the points highlighted in the report is that although effective and safe exercise is not an easy road with type 1 diabetes, the benefits far outweigh the risks, since physically active diabetics are generally healthier than their inactive counterparts.

Types of Exercises

The paper highlights three types of exercises – aerobic (e.g. walking, cycling, swimming), anaerobic (e.g. sprinting, weight lifting, elastic resistance bands) and mixed activities (e.g. kickboxing, karate, tennis). In some cases, anaerobic activities have been associated with a higher risk of nocturnal hypoglycemia than continuous aerobic activity.

Generally, aerobic exercises are associated with decreases in blood glucose levels, and anaerobic exercises are associated with increases in glycemia. Both types of exercise can cause delayed-onset hypoglycemia in recovery.

The authors of the study note that diabetics should be getting around 150 minutes of accumulated physical activity per week.


There is no one-size-fits-all solution and diabetics are advised to consult their endocrinologists for a suitable plan. Finding the safest exercises for type 1 diabetics really means finding the safest exercise for you and your needs and goals.

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