University of Calgary

READI trial

October 15, 2009

Testing diabetes and exercise

Dr. Ron Sigel

Dr. Ron Sigel hopes his study will give more options to diabetics.
A clinical research trial led by U of C’s Dr. Ron Sigal, an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research senior health scholar, is investigating whether weight training, when partnered with aerobic exercise, will help people with Type 1 diabetes to control their blood sugars.

The “Resistance Exercise in Already‐active Diabetic Individuals” trial—known as the READI trial—is underway in Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg with a goal of enrolling 128 participants.

“A 15 percent drop in average blood sugar levels reduces the risk of blindness, kidney failure or amputations by 25 to 40 percent,” says Sigal, a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, and the Julia McFarlane Diabetes Research Centre at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine.

“Our hope for this study of people with Type 1 diabetes is that we will see similar results to our previous study of people with Type 2 diabetes.”

In 2007, Sigal’s study of 251 people with Type 2 diabetes was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. That study found people in the group that combined aerobic and weight training were able to reduce their Hemoglobin A1c (a measure of average blood sugar) over two to three months.

“That group of participants had much better control of their blood sugar levels than people in the group that undertook just one type of exercise,” says Sigal.

To be eligible, participants must have Type 1 diabetes and already be doing aerobic exercise regularly. They will do their weight training at four YMCA locations in Calgary under the supervision of University of Calgary Exercise Specialist Tania White. Volunteer trainers from the Faculty of Kinesiology will work with participants on their training regimen.

“Right now, we don’t have many options beyond medication to offer people with Type 1 diabetes,” says Sigal. “We hope this study will prove that weight training, when combined with aerobic exercise, offers people a significant option to lower their blood sugar levels” and help  prevent the devastating illnesses that spring out of diabetes such as heart attack, stroke, blindness and amputation.

To get more information or to inquire about participating in the READI trial, contact MaryAnn Clearwaters at 403-955-8115 or

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