Type 2 diabetes is the fastest-growing non-infectious disease in the world. It is estimated more than one in ten Australians have pre-diabetes or diabetes, the sixth leading cause of death in Australia. While almost every Australian is familiar with the term diabetes, knowledge of how it can be identified and avoided is less widely recognised and will be put under the spotlight in National Diabetes Awareness Week from July 8-14. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the condition affecting up to 90% of those diagnosed and it is estimated that approximately 3.3 million Australians will have Type 2 diabetes by 2031. While this condition usually affects older adults, more and more young people are being diagnosed including children. Research studies have strong evidence supporting the role of exercise amongst diabetic patients and how sedentary lives play a big factor in this.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare recently reported the prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled between 1989–90 and 2007–08. An estimated 898,800 people have been diagnosed at some time in their lives.
Are you at risk?
In Australia, nearly two thirds of men and half of all women are overweight or obese. This is a key factor in the alarming rise of type 2 diabetes. According to Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA) up to 60 per cent of diabetes cases could be prevented, or at least delayed, by people being aware of how diet, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce this risk.
How can exercise help people with diabetes, or at risk of diabetes?
Exercise is strongly advocated for all patients with diabetes, provided their blood glucose and diabetes complications are controlled. People with poor fitness have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Increasing physical activity can reduce the incidence of T2DM by almost 60% in people at risk. People with Type 1 diabetes who do not have diabetic complications can be involved in most types of exercise and physical activities. They can undertake leisure activities, recreational sports and competitive sports at low, moderate or high intensities.
Based on research evidence, ESSA recommends patients with Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes accumulate a minimum of 210 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 125 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise a week to gain significant benefit. It is further recommended that this includes at least two resistance training sessions per week to achieve maximum benefit.
It is recommended that an exercise training program is written and delivered by someone with the appropriate qualification and experience to manage a patient’s specific requirements as one size does not fit all and there may be risk of complications. You may also be entitled to claim your exercise sessions on your private health fund or receive Medicare funded treatment sessions. Please see your GP for referral.
Be sure to consult your doctor, or accredited exercise physiologist before beginning any exercise program.
Source: Exercise is Medicine, ESSA