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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
Cardiovascular/Aerobic
(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
8-10repetitions
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!