Your Guide to Controlling Diabetes – Exercise

Studies show that increasing physical activity can reduce the chances that a person will develop Type II Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) who has been identified at an increased risk by 60%. Exercise can help prevent or delay T2DM, reduce body fat, decrease the risk of developing heart disease and increase heart and lung function in people diagnosed with T2DM.

For those already diagnosed with T2DM, elevated blood glucose levels can lead to an earlier onset of other diseases associated with T2DM, such as heart, kidney and eye diseases and increased risk of death. With improved blood glucose management, this can often lead to a reduction in T2DM medications.

What exercise is best for people T2DM?

Studies show that a combination of exercise types are most effective when performed at an appropriate intensity, duration and frequency. The following is a list of these recommendations:

Aerobic Exercise (fitness training) – It is recommended that people with T2DM undertake 210 min of moderately intense aerobic exercise or 125 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. ‘Moderate’ is roughly defined as an intensity which causes you to start to feel a little ‘puffy’ in your breathing. ‘Vigorous’ is defined as an intensity which causes an amount of breathlessness that you could not complete a full sentence without taking a breath.

Resistance Exercise (strength training) – The recommendation here is to perform at least 60 minutes of resistance training per week at a moderate to vigorous intensity (as defined above). Ideally this would be 2 or more times per week, performing 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions (please note that this 60 minutes is included as part of the recommended time for ‘Aerobic Exercise’ listed above).

Although these recommendations are quite clear, it still can be a significant challenge to know how to add more physical activity in to your day. If your doctor has told you that your blood sugar levels are elevated or have been diagnosed with T2DM and need some help with exercise, our Exercise Physiologist Mick Craven has more than 18 years experience and is well equipped to help.