What is Type 2 diabetes?

The rate of Diabetes in Australia is estimated to affect approximately 1.2million adults (this figure includes Type 1 and 2 diabetes in Australia). Alarmingly, of those diagnosed with diabetes, 85% have type 2, making it one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in Australia. This number continues to grow with 280 people developing Diabetes every day, or 1 person every 5 minutes.  On top of the people diagnosed with Diabetes, there is usually a carer for these people, meaning approximately 2.4million Australians are affected by diabetes every day. The estimated cost for this is estimated at $14.6 billion.

In order for our bodies to work properly, we have to convert the glucose that we ingest from food into energy. To be able to regulate this, we have a hormone called insulin. For people with Diabetes (Type 1 and some type 2), their pancreas doesn’t release insulin or doesn’t produce enough. Generally speaking, people are born with type 1 diabetes whereas type 2 diabetes is developed over a lifetime due to poor lifestyle habits.

As type 2 diabetes can be developed from a poor lifestyle, improving a person’s lifestyle by increasing their exercise and improving their diet, can go a long way to help to manage type 2 diabetes. In fact, it is one of the cheapest and most effective ways of doing it. In some cases, people are able to reduce the amount of medication they take, with some being able to come off medication altogether. How does exercise help? Continue reading to find out….

Exercise

It is now well established that participation in regular physical activity improves blood glucose control and can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. It also positively affecting lipids, blood pressure, cardiovascular events, mortality, and quality of life. Another benefit of exercise, modest weight loss, has been found to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in those that are at high risk of developing it. 

We know exercise is beneficial, but what should we be doing? The total amount of exercise should include a combination of aerobic exercise (e.g. walking or running) and resistance training (e.g. lifting weights),  which can maintain and increase muscle and bone strength. Importantly, combining both aerobic and resistance training has recently shown to be more beneficial on blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

As with any exercise program, it is important to consider exercise history and any other risk factors. This is where an exercise physiologist can help.  An exercise physiologist can develop a personalised exercise plan for you. They are able to help you work out exactly what you need to do as there is lots of information out there, and not all of it may be applicable to you.

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