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.