What is Type 2 diabetes?
Diabetes is the most common chronic disease in Australia, affecting 1.7 million Australians with 85-90% of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.1 Type 2 diabetes is when the body doesn’t respond properly to the insulin that is produced by the pancreas and/or the body loses the capacity to produce enough insulin.1 Type 2 diabetes results in a build-up of glucose in the blood stream or, as it is more commonly referred to, high blood sugar levels. A lack of ability to control blood glucose levels can lead to complications such as vision loss, skin ulcers, peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerve tissue), depression and anxiety, amputations, heart disease or stroke.
Exercise plays an essential role in both prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. Exercise increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin and assists the uptake of glucose from the blood stream.2 Exercise also helps decrease other modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes such as obesity.
Here are 5 Tips for exercising with type 2 diabetes:
- Monitor your blood sugar levels: It is important to test your blood sugar levels before, during and after exercise. One bout of exercise can help regulate your blood sugar levels for hours afterwards.
- Exercise in a controlled climate: People with diabetes can have trouble controlling their body temperature. Exercising in a controlled climate or ensuring that you are dressed appropriately for the environment can help control your body temperature.
- Exercise in the morning: Exercising in the morning is beneficial as it avoids the period of peak insulin action as well as decreasing the risk of having a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar level) episode at night.
- Pay attention to your footwear: Type 2 diabetes can affect sensation which increases the chance of skin lesions or ulcers. It’s really important to make sure your shoes are well-fitted and supportive to reduce points of possible irritation. Also wear cotton socks with no elastic in the tops to absorb sweat and reduce pressure on the foot.
- Consult an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist: Clinically prescribed exercise by an accredited exercise physiologist3 or physiotherapist will ensure you have an individualised, effective and medically safe exercise program.
For more information or advice on how to manage diabetes, contact your local Allsports Physiotherapy clinic.
1Diabetes Australia https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/
2Exercise Right: https://exerciseright.com.au/diabetes/