Exercise & Type 2 Diabetes

Regular exercise benefits everyone, but for people with type 2 diabetes exercise has very specific benefits:

  • Reduced glycosylated haemoglobin
  • Decreased fasting blood glucose
  • Decreased systolic blood pressure
  • Reduce the need for diabetic medication
  • Reduce anxiety / stress
  • Increase knowledge
  • Improve quality of life
  • Improve locus of control
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Weight loss and decreased BMI

Glycosylated haemoglobin or HbA1c is the best way to check overall blood glucose levels.  Red blood cells (haemoglobin) have a life of about 120 days.  A percentage of the glucose in the blood attaches to the haemoglobin and remains there for the life of the blood cell.  By testing the HbA1c we get an average of the blood glucose concentration over the last couple of months, which is used to assess the effectiveness of treatment.

Maintaining good glycaemic control reduces the risk and progression of diabetes related complications.  The Australian Diabetes Society recommends glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) is 7.0% or less.

Lifestyle change can halve the progression from impaired glucose tolerance to type 2 diabetes.  Moderate exercise significantly reduces the risk of death in people with type 2 diabetes.  Moderate exercise makes you puff a bit, but you can still hold a reasonable conversation.  Try to exercise for at least half an hour every second day and then build up your exercise as your personal fitness allows.  Aim to exercise at regular times on set days to help you develop a routine.  This will make it easier to maintain your exercise.