Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in Australia. Around 1.7 million people in Australia are currently living with the condition and around 85-90% of the cases are type 2. Despite it being such a prevalent disease, it is largely preventable with statistics showing that 53% of type 2 diabetes is related to being overweight or obese.
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, does not work effectively and/or the cells of the body do not respond to insulin effectively (known as insulin
So how can exercise help?
Exercise can be used as medicine for both the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. While exercise is not able to reverse the damage to the cells, exercise can help to make insulin work
more efficiently which in turn will help to regulate blood glucose levels. In addition to this exercise can increase glucose uptake by the muscles independent of insulin and can lower the dose of insulin required by improving the body’s response to insulin.
Exercise can also help to decrease some of the modifiable risk factors that contribute to diabetes such as weight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stress.
What is the best type of exercise?
A combination of aerobic and resistance training has been found to be the most beneficial for the management of diabetes. We should aim for 150 minutes of aerobic exercise weekly and 2-3
resistance training sessions on non-consecutive days.
So how do I get started?
If you are unsure about how to get started with exercise to help manage your diabetes speak to your GP about a referral to an exercise physiologist. You may also be eligible for up to 8 subsidised group sessions through Medicare with a GP management plan for your diabetes.
Kaitlin Mott – Exercise Physiologist