“See you on the road!”
Professors Miles Fisher and Mike Riddell - both of whom are keen advocates of exercise for people with type 1 diabetes, and cycling aficionados - gear up and don the lycra for the latest in our series ‘The long and the short of it’.
The general benefits of exercise people with type 1 diabetes are impressive - lowering cardiovascular disease risk, improving lipids and blood pressure, even (according to one recent study) improving life expectancy by up to 8 years. As Mike Riddell, from the School of Kinesiology and Health Science in Toronto Canada – himself a keen sportsman – puts it: “I can’t think why we wouldn’t exercise, those of us living with type 1.”
Miles Fisher has also had a long and fruitful interest in the area of exercise and diabetes and was involved 8 years ago with the global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists, triathletes and runners ‘Team Novo Nordisk’. As he points out, things have come a long way for the world of sport and diabetes. “In the past, exercise was always an important part of life for people with type 1, but really the aim was just to try and get people to compete. Now we’re trying to help people with type 1 diabetes to win.”
Much of that change is due to new technology. “The new insulin formulations, continuous glucose monitoring, insulin pumps and digital pens are helping us learn so much more about our athletes with type 1,” Mike explains. “It also allows us to fine tune that prescription that their healthcare provider might be giving them around nutrition and insulin management.”
That technology is also enabling collection of data – resulting in a flourishing field of research into the complex relationships around exercise, sport insulin and glycaemia. It’s a rich vein for discussion. As Miles says: “Fascinating times.”