This Diabetes Month, Don’t Forget About the Importance of Exercise for People with Type 1 Diabetes
November is National Diabetes Month, which means the health community will talk a lot about diabetes statistics and combining physical activity and a healthy diet to manage blood glucose. Because physical activity can help prevent – and is often a greater focus of treatment for – type 2 diabetes, the focus of conversations about diabetes and physical activity frequently zeroes in on this group. While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, and treatment is often more focused on insulin than lifestyle measures, there are also benefits of physical activity for people with type 1—which accounts for 10 percent of diabetes cases or 1.25 million people in the United States.
People with type 1 diabetes enjoy the same mental and physical health benefits that physical activity provides to others, including improved sleep quality, reduced chronic disease risk, weight management, reduced depression risk, lower stress, and a slowing of cognitive decline. Physical activity is linked to better self-confidence and academic performance in kids, and that’s no different for kids with type 1.
Like their non-diabetic peers, people with type 1 diabetes may not be getting enough physical activity. Only about 20 percent of American adults meet the Physical Activity Guidelines recommendations, and diabetes can add a level of difficulty to pursuing an active lifestyle. A 2008 study among people with type 1 diabetes found that fear of hypoglycemia was the most common barrier to exercise, while participants in a 2014 survey reported lack of knowledge about managing type 1 diabetes and its compli Continue reading