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.
Diabetes Australia identifies that:
- 280 Australians develop diabetes every day
- Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease
- Nearly 1,000,000 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
- As the sixth leading cause of death in Australia, it is critical we take action
- Up to 60% 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 essa.org.au 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)||Moderate or Vigorous||20-60 minutes per session||Minimum 3 days a week with no more than 2 consecutive days without exercising|
|Resistance training(e.g. lifting weights)||Moderate to Vigorous||30 – 60 minutes per session||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 can create a suitable exercise program for you.