Type 2 Diabetes & Exercise

Published: 02 Sep 2016

Type 2 Diabetes & Exercise

Let’s cut to the chase. Exercise is good for you, and everyone else as well.  If you happen to be suffering from pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, there is a whole lot of research demonstrating some very specific benefits from exercise.

Rates of Diabetes are increasing in Australia

As people become more sedentary and the incidence of obesity in our community increases, so does the number of people with Type 2 Diabetes (T2DM). In 2002, 16.4% of Australians had been diagnosed with T2DM, with a further 0.7% increase in diagnosed type 2 diabetes every year.  That is a lot of people.

Since this type of Diabetes is related to lifestyle, the major risk factors for developing T2DM is inactivity and excessive consumption of kilojoules, through food intake, in relation to the amount of energy used.

Exercise can reduce the incidence of T2DM by nearly 60% in people at risk.

Exercise will help

Research has found that exercise:

  • reduces blood sugar levels
  • prevents further cell damage and the onset of related diseases, such as heart disease
  • improves body composition and reduces obesity (lower BMI and body fat percentage)
  • increases cardiorespiratory fitness
  • enhances wellbeing and mental health, and
  • prevents pre-diabetes evolving into T2DM

Further benefits of exercise for type 2 diabetics include reduced risk of neuropathies (nerve damage), retinopathies (eye damage) and nephropathy (kidney damage).

Going for a walk is not enough

Although aerobic (cardio) exercise, such as walking (and we always encourage people to walk) has been proven to decrease body fat, it may not as effective in reducing blood sugar levels into a healthy range. There is lots of evidence that aerobic training is beneficial for related diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Resistance exercise, like weights or strength training, has been found to result in better improvements in blood sugar levels.  This is due to muscles becoming larger and more efficient, leading to greater removal through energy expenditure. This in turn means less sugar will be left in the blood stream, therefore sugar levels will be lower (yay!!!).

Consequently, it is strongly recommended that people suffering from diabetes participate in both aerobic and strength exercise.

We have a program for you!

In conjunction with Diabetes NSW/ACT we run Beat It classes for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes.  These free classes are designed specifically for people, and are run by our physiotherapists who have all undertaken additional training.  For more information contact us now.