What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes with more than 1 million Australians affected. The body develops a resistance to insulin, the hormone responsible for lowering your blood sugar levels to prevent hyper (high) and hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) following consumption of food or nutrients.
If left completely untreated, it can lead to impaired vision, sensation in hands and feet, higher risk of cardiac events and reduced kidney function and is also commonly linked with high blood pressure.
How Does Exercise Help?
Fortunately, exercise has been shown to reverse the effects of diabetes as well as being influential to preventing it in the first place!
When you exercise, your body uses energy stored in your muscles. This energy needs to be replenished, so your body becomes more efficient at regulating the levels of energy stored in your body, meaning a reduction in the tolerance built up to the insulin hormone.
Other benefits also include reduction in blood pressure and stress, maintaining a healthy body weight and reduced risk of heart or other cardiovascular diseases.
Which Exercise is Best?
All exercise is fantastic if you have been diagnosed with diabetes or told you are pre-diabetic. However high frequency is important with no more than 2 days off between exercise. Aerobic exercise (such as swimming, running, walking, or cycling) is recommended for at least 210 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week (30mins/day) or 125 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week.
Resistance exercise (strength training) is recommended 2 or more times per week, focussing on large muscle groups and multi-joint exercises. And these minutes count to your 210 total minutes.
But don’t worry if you can’t quite do that much exercise, you can build up to it as your body gets used to doing more exercise, usually over around 4-6 weeks.
It is also vital to consider any other health conditions or injuries prior to engaging in exercise. To assist with this and find out which exercise will be best for you, book an appointment in with one of our exercise physiologists to get you started off on the right foot!
Exercise & Sports Science Australia Position Statement 2015
International Diabetes Federation
Physical Activity/Exercise and Diabetes: A Position Statement of the American Diabetes Association 2016