Everybody benefits from regular exercise. If you have diabetes, or are at risk of diabetes it plays an important role in keeping you healthy. Exercise can help to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease, and manage your weight and insulin levels. However, if you have any diabetes, you should talk to an accredited exercise physiologist before you start increasing the intensity of your exercise. Our AEP, Matthew Brozovich, discusses some of the reasons why it’s important to exercise, following professional guidance, if you have diabetes.
How does diabetes affect the body?
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. The body uses glucose as a source of energy. Glucose in the bloodstream needs to move into body tissue (e.g. muscle) so that the cells can use body tissue for energy.
There are many different types of diabetes, but for the purpose of this article we will focus on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) as it affects 80-90 percent of all people with diabetes. T2DM is commonly known as a ‘lifestyle disease’ and can be managed with the access to the correct resources.
Some of the symptoms of T2DM include:
- Feeling thirsty (more than usual)
- Frequently urinating
- Feeling lethargic
- Slow healing sores/wounds
- Blurred vision.
Can exercise prevent the onset of diabetes?
Lifestyle risk factors for T2DM include:
- Being overweight or obese, especially around the waist
- Low levels of physical activity, including more than two hours of television watching per day
- Unhealthy eating habits, such as regularly choosing high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt or low-fibre foods
- Cigarette smoking and excess alcohol intake.
So YES, simply put exercise can prevent chances of developing T2DM as it takes away one lifestyle risk factor, however to further reduce the risk all lifestyle risk factors should be considered. If you unsure how to successfully make changes visit a GP or Health Practitioner.
Why is it important to exercise to manage diabetes?
The fundamental goal for management of T2DM is glycaemic (blood sugar) control using a combination of diet, exercise and/or medication. In many cases an Exercise Physiologist will work conjunction with a Dietician to successfully manage diabetes.
When we exercise our muscles contract, therefore taking Glucose (sugar) out of the bloodstream to use for energy in the individual muscle cells – reducing the blood sugar count.
There are types of exercise that are more beneficial than others. Typically, it is suggested completing exercises that focus on activation of large muscle groups in a rhythmic and continuous fashion to maximise glucose uptake by the muscles.
If you have diabetes and/or any other health conditions it is best to seek professional advice from your local Exercise Physiologist before participating in an exercise regime.
If you have diabetes ensure you get on top of it straight away. No it cannot be cured but it can be managed and management is the key to reducing the progression of this disease.