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October 12, 1979

Exercise therapy 'rediscovered' for diabetes, but what does it do?

JAMA. 1979;242(15):1591-1592. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300150003001

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Ancient wisdom has it that physical activity is good for diabetic patients—at least those who are not ketotic or severely deficient in insulin. Celsus first advocated exercise as a component of diabetes management around the time of Christ (Diabetes 28 [suppl 1]:107-110, 1979).

But in the 1970s, says Fred Whitehouse, MD, past president of the American Diabetes Association, "exercise is being rediscovered as an important modality of treatment in diabetes by scientists who now need to identify how it works."

One rediscoverer of exercise who discussed his findings at the recent American Diabetes Association meeting in Los Angeles was Philip Felig, MD, professor of medicine and chief of endocrinology at the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn. According to Felig, he and his associates subjected six nonobese, sedentary, normal subjects to a six-week training program consisting of bicycle exercise for one hour per day, four days per week.