Type 1 diabetes is characterized by an autoimmune β-cell destruction resulting in endogenous insulin
deficiency, potentially leading to micro- and macrovascular complications. Besides an exogenous insulin therapy
and continuous glucose monitoring, physical exercise is recommended in adults with type 1 diabetes to improve
overall health. The close relationship between physical exercise, inflammation, muscle contraction, and macronutrient
intake has never been discussed in detail about type 1 diabetes. The aim of this narrative review was to
detail the role of physical exercise in improving clinical outcomes, physiological responses to exercise and different
nutrition and therapy strategies around exercise.
Physical exercise has several positive effects on glucose uptake and systemic inflammation in adults with type 1
diabetes. A new approach via personalized therapy adaptations must be applied to target beneficial effects on
complications as well as on body weight management. In combination with pre-defined macronutrient intake
around exercise, adults with type 1 diabetes can expect similar physiological responses to physical exercise, as
seen in their healthy counterparts.
This review highlights interesting findings from recent studies related to exercise and type 1 diabetes. However,
there is limited research available accompanied by a proper number of participants in the cohort of type 1 diabetes.
Especially for this group of patients, an increased understanding of the impact of physical exercise can improve
its effectiveness as an adjuvant therapy to move (forward).