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T1D-Improves physical fitness

Evidence Summary

A randomized control trial done in 2019 compared high-intensity interval training (HIT), with moderate continuous aerobic training (MCT) and no exercise (control) (36 participants; mean age 23.5 +/- 6 years) [1]. Baseline VO2peak was similar in all groups, with the largest increase from baseline after HIT (17.6%, p = 0.0001), compared to MCT (3%, p = 0.055) and control (p = 0.63). The study concluded that in patients with type 1 diabetes without microvascular complications, an 8-week HIT program produced greater improvement in physical fitness than MCT at a similar glycaemic control.

A separate systematic review in 2011 of 48 articles found that physical activity (for more than 7 days, irrespective of intensity) improves physical fitness and strength, but did not refer to any specific type of physical activity [2].

Quality of Evidence

A – High

Strength of Recommendation

1 – Strong recommendation


Physical activity improves physical fitness and strength overall. Compared with other types of training and no exercise, HIT best improves physical fitness.


[1] Boff W, da Silva AM, Farinha JB, Rodrigues-Krause J, Reischak-Oliveira A, Tschiedel B, Puñales M, Bertoluci MC. Superior Effects of High-Intensity Interval vs. Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training on Endothelial Function and Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Patients With Type 1 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Front Physiol. 2019 Apr 24;10:450. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00450. PMID: 31110479; PMCID: PMC6499209.

[2] Chimen, M., Kennedy, A., Nirantharakumar, K. et al. What are the health benefits of physical activity in type 1 diabetes mellitus? A literature review. Diabetologia 55, 542–551 (2012).