Did you know that over 1.2 million Australians live with Type 2 Diabetes (and the numbers are growing!)

You’ve just left your doctor’s office after hearing that your sugar levels have increased. He’s asked you to eat healthier and walk more. What else should you be doing? Read on to learn about an exercise physiologists perspective:..

Exercise is a critical component of diabetes management and can provide numerous benefits for individuals with the condition.
Firstly, exercise can help improve blood sugar control by increasing insulin sensitivity. This means that your body can use insulin more efficiently, which can help to lower blood sugar levels.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials found that regular exercise significantly improved blood sugar control in individuals with type 2 diabetes (Umpierre et al., 2011).

Secondly, exercise can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is a common complication of diabetes. Regular physical activity can help to improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall cardiovascular health.

A large cohort study of over 7,000 individuals with type 2 diabetes found that those who engaged in regular physical activity had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who were inactive (Colberg et al., 2010).

Finally, exercise can also help to improve overall quality of life and mental health. Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, which are more common in individuals with diabetes (Stubbs et al., 2016). Additionally, regular physical activity can help to improve sleep quality, increase energy levels, and reduce stress.

So, you now see how exercise is a powerful tool for managing diabetes and how it can provide numerous benefits for individuals with the condition. Well, where do you get started?

Of course, it goes without saying, that I’m first going to recommend you speak with an exercise physiologist – to help get you set up with a plan tailored to you and your goals. You’re always welcome to reach out! (Did you know we offer phone/video consults?)

While waiting for an appointment or a call back, there are things you can begin to implement into your weekly routine that could best help you manage your diabetes. See the list below:

  • The recommended amount of weekly exercise is approx. 150 min/week of moderate intensity cardio exercise (i.e running, walking, swimming, etc) and at least 2 days/week of resistance training (i.e gym, weights, etc)
  • That doesn’t mean any exercise physiologist would expect you to do that much exercise – especially if you’re currently doing no exercise… The bare minimum expected however, should be some type of exercise, at least EVERY OTHER DAY (excuse the shouting), as one bout of exercise can result in positive effects on your blood sugar control for the next 2-3 days! (see below)
  • You should also consider adding 1-2 days per week of resistance training, whether at the gym, at home with some weights, or even practicing some squats to a chair and push ups on the kitchen bench.

Exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in people with Type 2 Diabetes even 48-72 hours after exercise (Way, KL et al., 2016)

There are other things to consider when beginning an exercise program when you have Type 2 Diabetes (like safety precautions, exercise principles, etc). As mentioned above, get in contact with an exercise physiologist before beginning any exercise program.




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