July In Focus: Diabetes

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Up to 3 million Australians over the age of 25 years will potentially have diabetes by the year 2025!

While skipping a daily exercise routine may seem harmless, Australians are set for a harsh wake-up call in the coming years, with the latest statistics showing up to 3 million Australians over the age of 25 years will have diabetes by the year 2025 if incidence rates continue to rise at their current rates. Currently, it is estimated that type 2 diabetes alone costs $3 billion per year.

Diabetes Australia identifies that:

  • 280 Australians develop diabetes every day
  • Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease
  • Almost 1.1 million Australians are currently diagnosed with diabetes. For every person diagnosed, it is estimated that there is another who is not yet diagnosed; a total of about 1.7 million people
  • The total number of Australians with diabetes and pre-diabetes is estimated at 3.2 million
  • Up to 58% of cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

Exercise can help

Maintaining good control of blood glucose levels can be more challenging for people with type 1 diabetes than for those people with type 2 diabetes. However, regular exercise is very beneficial for both groups.

People with type 1 diabetes who do not have diabetic complications can be involved in most types of exercise and physical activities at low, moderate or high intensities. While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented or cured, regular exercise improves how insulin works in the body, decreases the dose of insulin required, improves cardiovascular health and fitness, reduces cardiovascular risk factors and the risk of diabetes-related complications, and improves quality of life

Regular exercise is also beneficial to those living with type 2 diabetes as it improves control of blood glucose, decreases the proportion of body fat, decreases the risk of heart disease, and increases heart and lung fitness.

An accredited exercise physiologist can design a suitable exercise program for you. Visit to find an AEP in your area.

As a general guide, the following exercise is recommended:

Note: Adequate footwear is essential and if neuropathy (nerve damage/loss of sensation) is present foot checks after exercise are advised.

Type of exercise Intensity Duration Frequency
Aerobic exercise(e.g. walking, running, cycling) ModerateOrVigorous Total of 210  minutes per weekTotal of 125 minutes per week Minimum 3 days a week with no more than 2 consecutive days without exercising
Resistance training(e.g. lifting weights) Moderate toVigorous 60 minutes per week 2 or more times per week (2–4 sets of 8–12 repetitions)

Prevention is key.

People with poor fitness have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Increasing physical activity can:

  • Reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by almost 60%; and
  • Reduce the symptoms related to type 2 diabetes by about 12%.
  • Total amount of exercise should include a combination of aerobic and resistance training. Aerobic exercise increases heart and lung fitness, while resistance training maintains muscle and bone strength. See below for type 2 diabetes exercise recommendations. An exercise physiologist here at MediGYM can create a suitable exercise program for you.

For further information download the Exercise is Medicine fact sheets on Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes ,and the ESSA Position Statement on Exercise prescription for patients with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes

Useful links

Exercise is Medicine Australia

Exercise Right

Exercise & Sports Science Australia

Diabetes Australia

Information from Exercise is Medicine (link below)


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