Exercise and Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterised by an elevated fasting blood glucose level due to defects in our bodies ability to produce insulin or our bodies inability to use insulin.

There are 2 main types of Diabetes, these are type 1 and type 2. 

Type 1 Diabetes

In T1DM the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin are destroyed by the body’s immune system. Without insulin the body’s cells cannot take up glucose (sugar) and turn it into energy. Glucose builds up in the bloodstream, which can lead to organ damage in the kidneys, eyes and heart. People with type 1 Diabetes require daily injections of insulin to control their glucose levels.

They also test their blood glucose levels several times daily. The onset of T1DM typically occurs in people under 30, but can occur at any age. About 10-15% of all cases of diabetes are T1DM.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is the more common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90% of all people with diabetes. While it usually affects older adults, more and more young people, even children, are developing T2DM. In T2DM the pancreas produces insulin but the body’s cells and tissues do not respond effectively to the insulin and so do not take up the blood glucose and turn it into energy. This results in a build-up of glucose in the blood.

The management of T2DM includes healthy eating and regular physical activity. Some people with T2DM may also need medication and insulin injections.

How does exercise help Diabetes?

Exercise plays a vital role in the management of both type 1 and 2 Diabetes. Exercise cannot reverse the damage done to the pancreas cells by the immune system, however it does make our muscles and tissues more sensitive to the action of insulin, which leads to increased glucose absorption from our bloodstream. In addition, exercise also increases our muscles ability to absorb glucose through other methods, which lasts for a couple of hours after exercise. 

Using exercise in combination with other healthy lifestyle changes can enable you to reduce the amount of insulin and other medications required to manage your blood glucose levels. It is important to seek advice from your GP and Exercise Physiologist about the type and timing of exercise around meals and medication use, as some people with diabetes are at increased risk of injury or extreme low blood glucose levels which can lead to possible complications. 


Tips to remember

  • Always check blood glucose prior, during and after exercise
  • Avoid injecting insulin in limbs that are being used to exercise
  • If you have peripheral neuropathy make sure you wear good shoes and check feet regularly for ulcers and skin changes

What exercise is best?

Research has moved away from prolonged moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. We suggest a combination of both strength training and moderate aerobic exercise. Aim for 150 mins of moderate intensity exercise, which is a brisk walk which makes you huff and puff a little bit, but you can still talk, and 2-3 sessions of strength training per week. Not sure where to start contact the clinic today 60211975 or email admin@sportsandspinal.net.au we can point you in the right direction! Or click here to sign up to out Pilates at Sports & Spinal in our Wodonga clinic

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