How will exercise help my Diabetes management?

There are 3 main mechanisms in which exercise can have a positive effect on Diabetes management.

  • Improves the muscles response to insulin
    • Type 2 Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not respond to insulin effectively, resulting in a build up of glucose in the blood. Exercise enhances the muscles ability to effectively respond to insulin and increase uptake of glucose from the blood.
  • Regulates blood glucose levels post-exercise
    • Exercise has a hypo-glycaemic effect which can last for up to 24 hours post-exercise. This is both beneficial in lowering blood glucose levels but is also something to be wary of, which is discussed later.
  • Increases muscular glucose uptake in ways that do not rely on insulin
    • Muscles that are working during exercise can take glucose from the blood even in the absence of insulin, meaning those with impaired insulin function can still lower their blood glucose levels.

Regular exercise is also crucial in reducing the risk of Diabetes-related co-morbidities and complications such as Cardiovascular Disease, Neuropathies and Mental Health conditions. These benefits will be discussed in further detail in later blog posts.

What type of exercise should I do?

There are no particular limits on what types of exercise you can do to better manage your Diabetes. Aerobic activities such as walking, running, cycling and swimming are all fantastic ways to lose weight, reduce your cardiovascular risk and lower your blood sugar levels. However, resistance-style exercises such as strength training and Pilates have been shown to have a more pronounced effect on insulin sensitivity. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of exercise you are doing. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can prescribe an individualized program to ensure you are getting the most benefit from your exercise and gradually progressing and improving as your body responds and adapts.

Is there anything I should be wary of?

Exercising as a Diabetic doesn’t come without risks. Exercising with a blood glucose reading that is too high or too low can be dangerous, therefore at Aim Exercise Physiology, we make an important note of either measuring your BGL’s directly before you come to your exercise session, or using our own blood glucose monitor once you arrive at the clinic. There may also be the possibility of a delayed hypoglycaemic effect, especially after long bouts of aerobic exercise, so we will discuss techniques and ways to monitor yourself post-exercise to ensure you are not placed at any risk. If you are taking insulin for your Diabetes, the timing of your exercise is also an important factor to take into consideration.

The benefits that exercise can produce for people with Type 2 Diabetes far outweigh any risks involved. With the expert guidance of an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, you can soon be on your way to better management of your Diabetes and leading a happier and healthier life. Call us today on (08) 8331 1557 to find out how to start!