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Type 1 Diabetes & Weight Training

author image Kristin Davis
Kristin Davis has been writing since 2004, specializing in the health and fitness fields. She has written for online and print publications including Fitness Monthly and Creative Circle. Davis has certification through the International Fitness Professionals Association as a personal trainer.
Type 1 Diabetes & Weight Training
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Type 1 diabetes is also referred to as juvenile diabetes. Only about 5 to 10 percent of diabetics have type 1 diabetes; the majority of diabetics have type 2, according to the American Diabetes Association. Type 1 diabetes means that your body cannot produce insulin. It’s imperative that you only perform an exercise and weight training program under physician care.

Type 1 Diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, your doctor may place you on insulin therapy or alternative treatments, such as sugar pills, to give your body the insulin that it needs. Your body uses insulin and converts it into glucose, which your body uses for energy. Without insulin, your body cannot make glucose. Exercise has insulin-like effects on your body, according to the American Council on Exercise. You also receive all the other benefits of exercise and weight training such as managing body weight, improving blood lipids and lowering blood pressure.

Weight Training

Since your body doesn’t produce insulin like it’s supposed to, it’s important to follow the advice of your physician when it comes to working out and weight training. Exercising can have an adverse effect on those that take insulin, causing your blood sugar or glucose levels to drastically drop; resulting in hypoglycemia. The American Council on Exercise recommends that type 1 diabetics weight train at least two days per week, only performing one set of 10 to 15 repetitions at either a low- or moderate-intensity level. Depending upon your health, your doctor may recommend more or less weight training.

Take Precautions

If your doctor has approved of weight training and exercising, you can take certain precautions to ensure your health is safe during your workout. Monitor your glucose levels before, during and after your workout to ensure they are stable. You may need to carry a high-carbohydrate snack with you if your glucose levels begin to plummet. Take an exercise buddy along with you or wear an identification bracelet that indicates your medical condition just in case you should collapse if your blood sugar drastically drops.


Make sure that you eat a healthy meal before and after your workout to help stabilize your blood sugar levels and make sure that you take your insulin medication exactly as your doctor prescribed. Neglecting to take your medication correctly can cause adverse effects whether you’re working out or not. Attend all regular screenings for your physician to check your eyes, heart and kidneys, as diabetes type 1 often affects these organs. Your doctor may need to modify your weight training and exercise regimen should any complications arise.

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