What is it?
According to the most recent figures from the National Diabetes Service Scheme, 1,302,303 Australians are living with diabetes, and 87% of those are living with type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease characterised by having either peripheral insulin resistance, simply put means our body's cells resist insulin's help in removing and storing glucose from our bloodstream, or relative insulin deficiency which means that our body is not producing enough insulin to assist our body to store away glucose from our bloodstream. This results in elevated blood glucose levels, which if not managed, leads to a number of complications, and a decreased lifespan.
Why do I have it?
There are many factors which can lead to Type 2 diabetes or increase a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People are at a higher risk if they:
How can exercise help?
Exercise, along with other lifestyle interventions, plays an important role in the management of type 2 diabetes.
The reasons for the improvement in blood glucose levels from exercise are complex, but put simply exercise helps to improve insulin sensitivity (increased effectiveness/use of insulin by our body), and increases the amount of glucose taken up by the muscles (which are not dependent on insulin), both resulting in lowered blood glucose levels in the hours following exercise.
Improvements in blood glucose values towards optimum levels commonly leads to a decrease in type 2 diabetes medication use.
And of course, exercise helps to prevent and manage other chronic conditions, provides improvements in physical health and fitness, strength, and bone mass which improves our overall physical function and independence.
What type of exercise, and how do I get started?
The research shows that both aerobic exercise, and strength training alone can provide benefits, however a combination of the two has been shown to have the most benefit in reducing blood glucose levels.
The recommended amount of exercise from Exercise and Sports Science Australia is:
To gain benefits to our health we need to undertake aerobic exercise for at least 10 minutes continuously each bout, and for those who have not exercised before, this is a great place to start. Start with a duration of exercise you can handle, undertaking an activity that you enjoy (walking, bike riding, swimming, arm cycle, etc), and then build your way up to 10 minutes + from there. You could undertake multiple 10 minute bouts across the day, or undertake a larger duration/chunk of exercise (such as 30-60 minutes) all at one time.
Strength training should include multi joint exercises, utilising large muscle groups, 8-10 repetitions, 2-4 sets of exercises. Resistance bands can be a great way to start at home, however progressing to higher weight (dumbbells/resistance machines/cable pulleys) has been shown to have a greater effect for people with diabetes.
Please feel free to reach out to us with any diabetes and exercise concerns, or call or book online to have an individual assessment and program developed to meet your needs.
Modern technology is great in many ways, however with many tasks and interactions now undertaken electronically, we sit more and more at our desks which can take it's toll on our bodies.
Here are some tips to help alleviate some of the negative effects of prolonged sitting at the computer:
With a new year about to begin, many people may be thinking about setting New Year's Resolutions around their health and wellbeing. If you are planning on setting one or more New Year's Resolutions, you may want to brush up on your goal setting techniques.
A tried and testing approach to goal setting is using the SMART goal setting method. This is an approach I often use with my clients and you may also be familiar with it.
SPECIFIC - Your goal should be clear and easy to understand and specific. Simply saying "I want to get healthy" is not specific enough for a goal to have meaning. Ask yourself, what, where, how, when, with whom and why. Use these to state exactly what you want to accomplish, ie "I want to walk 4km's on 5 days of the week before breakfast."
MEASURABLE - Your goal needs to be measurable so that you can track your progress and demonstrate success. Using the above goal as an example, you could track your walk with a pedometer, use your car odometer to map out a track, use any number of apps on your phone (such as mapmyfitness) and also record each walk with the time of day in your diary or simply on a piece of paper.
ACHIEVABLE - Your confidence in being able to achieve your goal will impact on your liklihood of having success. Do not set unrealistic goals, or goals that are too difficult to achieve. There is a balance between making a goal too easy, and making it too difficult/unrealistic. Are the steps that you need to take to achieve the goal able to happen?
RELEVANT - Is the goal relevant to you? Setting a goal of running a half marathon is not relevant or realistic to you if you do not enjoy running, and do not appreciate the achievement of a half marathon. If increasing your walking distance so that you can walk around Europe on your upcoming holiday is important to you, it is relevant and ticks the boxes for a SMART goal.
TIME LIMITED - You need to be specific about when you want to achieve this goal and this links into it being measurable. Using the original goal as an example, I need to specify my time-line. So, the goal may become ""I will walk 4km's on 5 days of the week before breakfast, by Monday the 1st of February 2017." Or, you may make it even more specific, by saying "I will walk 4km's on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday before breakfast every week".
At the end of your specified time period, you may continue with your current actions, or you may re-evaluate and set new goals. Some people also find that setting a reward for themselves for achieving a goal a good motivator for staying on track, therefore this may also be something you could consider.
Small goals can be stepping stones to a bigger goal. Setting short and medium term goals help to break the bigger goal into bite-sized steps, and enables you to achieve success on the way to your larger goal. An example is that if you would like to lose 20kg in 6 months, you may set yourself a smaller goal of losing 1kg every 2 weeks. This way you can measure small success each fortnight and know whether you are on the right track to achieving your larger goal. Achieving the small and medium goals can also help to boost confidence and self belief which can help to keep you motivated.
Research shows that physically writing down a goal increases your chance of achieving that goal. Therefore when setting your goal, write it down. Put it somewhere were you can see it to increase motivation. Getting a buddy involved is also a great motivator in helping people carry out the tasks/actions needed to fulfill their goals. Again, using the above as an example, recruiting a friend to walk with may make that goal more enjoyable, and therefore more achievable.
Achieving more, starts with being SMART!
Happy New Year!
An exercise Physiologist is a degree qualified exercise professional, with specialised training for clients with injury or chronic ailments/disease. Exercise Physiologists boast a vast array of knowledge and experience in health, fitness and exercise. Here are 5 big reasons you should train with a qualified Exercise Physiologist.