Type 2 Diabetes and Physical Activity
Physical activity becomes even more important to consider for someone living with diabetes and is an essential component of diabetes management.
Regular physical activity can decrease the risk of diabetes complications, improve how insulin works, improve glucose levels, fitness and well-being.
So how much do we need to do to gain these benefits?
- At least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activityModerate intensity activity – Increase heart rate, increased breathing, perspiration, can hold a conversation but cannot sing. Approximately 55-70% of maximum heart rate or about 3-4/10 perceived exertion. , most days of the week, or
- At least 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activityVigorous intensity activity – High heart rate, breathlessness, cannot hold an uninterrupted conversation, generally not sustainable for longer than about 30 minutes. Approximately 70-90% of maximum heart rate or about 5-6/10 perceived exertion. , most days of the week
- No more than 2 consecutive days without activity
- At least 2 non-consecutive days of resistance trainingResistance training – Exercises involving pushing, pulling, or lifting weight to strengthen large muscle groups. May include machine weights, free weights, resistance bands, and or body weight. per week
- 8-10 exercises
- 1-3 sets
- 10-15 repetitions (you should feel you can’t do more than 15)
- Limit sitting time
If we have not done much activity before, it can be difficult to get going, particularly with the added stress of managing diabetes. Research suggests only one third of Australians living with diabetes are meeting the above guidelines.
So, how can we start or increase physical activity?
- Goal setting
- Attend Ready, Set, Go – Let’s Move, this program gives you the facts on diabetes and exercise and provides tips on how to start exercising and how to stay motivated.
- See an exercise physiologist
- Ask your GP for a group allied health referral form
- Join a local group
- Start small and progress slowly (even 10-minute blocks of activity throughout your day can result in benefits to your heart health and diabetes management)
Some helpful websites:
- Type 2 diabetes and physical activity
- Exercise Is Medicine Australia
- Exercise Right
- NDSS Physical Activity fact sheet
- Australian Department of Health Physical Activity guidelines (PDF)