The results of a new study published in the journal Diabetes Care may help diabetics who exercise control their blood sugar better.
The study followed 12 people who averaged age 32, ten men and two women, and already exercised regularly and were diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes. The participants met the researchers at a laboratory for two exercise sessions that were held five days apart.
The participants started one session at 5pm with 45 minutes of treadmill running followed by 45 minutes of weight training. The order of the training was switched in the second session.
The time was chosen in order to simulate the approximate time they participants would normally work out, typically after-work hours.
The researchers were very careful to monitor the participants blood sugar during the exercise sessions. Samples of blood were taken before, during, and after the sessions. The exercise sessions were stopped and the participants were given a snack if the the participants blood sugar dropped below 4.5 mmol/L (millimoles per liter) of blood.
The study found when participants followed the aerobic exercise first plan then their blood sugar was more likely to fall below the 4.5 mmol/L threshold. But when they did weight training first the suffered less severe drops in blood sugar even hours after exercise and post-exercise drops were less severe than before.
Since the study was so small, the researchers were unsure if other mitigating factors, that were not monitored, could have skewed the results.
According to Reuters, for example, they did not monitor the levels of a number of hormones that could lead to changes in blood glucose during exercise. Nor was the patients diet monitored and controlled, but the researchers wanted to simulate real-life conditions faced by people with Type-1 diabetes.
Also the study followed diabetics who were in good physical fitness, would the same results occur with somebody who had less than optimum health?
Dr. Vivian Fonseca, chief of endocrinology at Tulane University Medical School, and was not involved in the study, told Reuters, “While the study findings are very intriguing, they may have limited practical value until more studies are done.”
The authors of the study still recommend that Type-1 diabetics train with weights before their cardiovascular workout in order to better control their blood sugar.
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