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Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus & Exercise – Blog by Christie Mellerick (Accredited Exercise Physiologist)

 Diagram of diabetes

Type II Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) affects 85-90% of all people with diabetes. Even though T2DM more commonly affects older adults, there are becoming more younger adults and children that are developing the condition. T2DM is a disease which results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors where the body develops a resistance to insulin. Insulin is responsible for up taking glucose (sugar) in the body system, meaning that when you have T2DM you end up with elevated blood sugar levels. Although there is genetic predisposition to the occurrence of T2DM, the risk is greatly increased when you have any of the following factors:

• Physical inactivity
• High blood pressure
• Increased waist circumference
• Obesity
• Family history of T2DM
• Poor dietary habits

Importance of Exercise for Diabetics

Exercise and increasing physical activity levels can help you to reduce the risk of T2DM by almost 60%. When you become resistant to insulin, exercise can play a very important role in the management of your T2DM. As you exercise, whether it be strength or aerobic training, the muscles are contracting and acting as a pump which draws glucose into the muscle cells therefore decreasing the blood glucose levels in your system. The effects of exercise on blood glucose levels can be prevalent for the next 24hours, highlighting the importance to monitor your blood glucose levels both pre and post exercise.

Below are some further benefits to regular exercise:

• decrease waist circumference
• decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease
• maintain/increase strength
• optimise heart and lung function
• improve functional capacity and independence
• improve mental health and wellbeing

Exercise Recommendations

Type of Exercise Intensity Duration Frequency
(planned) Moderate to Vigorous (should be able to talk but not sing)
RPE: 13 30minutes Most days of the week. No more than two consecutive days without planned exercise.
Resistance/Strength Training Moderate to Vigorous
RPE: 13-15 30minutes
8-10 exercises
2-4 sets
2-3 x/week.

Did You Know?

If you have T2DM you are eligible for our T2DM Group Exercise Program at Total Physiocare run by our Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP). This program consists of 1 x initial assessment and 8 x 1hour group exercise sessions with our AEP. The program runs for an 8week period and is completely funded by Medicare meaning you are not out of pocket; all you need is a referral from your GP.

If you have T2DM and are wanting to optimise your T2DM management make an appointment at Total Physiocare with our Accredited Exercise Physiologist by contacting one of our clinics at Total Physiocare Heidelberg, Reservoir and Footscray

Book an appointment today for your assessment!


Exercising your way to better health at Total Physiocare

At Total Physiocare we see a wide range of people all with varying conditions that require treatment. For a large majority of these people exercise is a simple and effective way to help reduce their symptoms or manage their condition safely. Throughout this blog you will be able to understand why we use exercise to treat common complaints, what the benefits are to your health and how to begin an exercise program to suit your needs.

Some of the more common health conditions our patients present with or suffer from are:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Recurrent falls

knee OA

These conditions also share some common risk factors including:

  • Increased body fat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased cholesterol; and 
  • Physical Inactivity


The most common treatment tool we use as physiotherapists is exercise and for these conditions and risk factors it plays a vital role. Being physically active decreases these risk factors and improves overall strength and fitness. This lowers your chances of developing one or all of these conditions and helps prevent falls.

Physical Benefits of exercise


  • Decreases body weight which minimizes stress on joints
  • Improves muscle strength which decreases load through joints and promotes better movement

Heart Disease

  • Decrease fatty deposits and build up in arteries (atherosclerosis). These deposits lead to an increased stress on the heart causing heart attack and can also lead to stroke.
  • Also decreases blood pressure and cholesterol which are high risk factors for heart attack and stroke

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Excess body fat impairs production and efficiency of insulin causing type 2 diabetes. Reducing body fat can prevent onset of the condition and even reverse its’ effects in those already diagnosed


  • Falls can be caused by many medical and environmental factors. Being physically active maintains muscle strength and balance which can help reduce your risk of falling

Psychological / Emotional Benefits of Exercise

  • Improved self esteem
  • Social interaction
  • Achievement of goals
  • Improved mood through natural release of endorphins
  • Empowerment of managing own health • Increased motivation

Barriers to exercise

For some of us it is not as simple as just diving into a gym program. There are a number of valid reasons that prevent us from starting an exercise regime. Common barriers to exercise can include:

  • Lacking confidence in yourself or your physical capabilities
  • Limited knowledge of exercises and equipment
  • Health conditions
  • Bad past experiences at gyms
  • Past and current injuries
  • Lacking motivation
  • Inadequate supervision or assistance

Exercise Program at Total Physiocare

At Total Physiocare we understand these barriers can be difficult to overcome that is why we have created the “Total Fit” program. Total Fit is an 8 week individualised exercise program tailored to your needs and targeted at achieving your goals. It includes an assessment with one of our qualified physiotherapists and allows you to use our gym with other like-minded people whilst under guidance by our experienced team. The program includes a thorough orientation to our gym to ensure you feel confident to kick start your exercise journey as well as regular reviews to progress and update your program and ensure you remain on track. Our team are experts in exercise prescription for people with underlying health conditions so you can be sure that you are doing the best exercises for your individual needs.

TPC gym 1
Total Physiocare Gym
TPC gym 2
Total Physiocare Gym







Start exercising your way to better health or if you would like more information about our Total Fit program give us a call to schedule your assessment on 9457-7474

Post by Briony Barry (Physiotherapist)