Exercise Right for type 2 diabetes – Movement is medicine!

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions in Australia. Around 1.7 million people live with this condition, and 85–90 per cent of cases are type 2. This National Diabetes Week, Exercise Right is highlighting the fact that exercise can be used as medicine to both prevent and manage type 2 diabetes.

“The prevalence of diabetes is increasing at a frightening rate, with 280 Australians developing diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes,” says Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Carly Ryan.

Diabetes puts a strain on the healthcare system, with 1 million hospitalisations and 16,400 deaths associated with diabetes in 2015. The impact of diabetes also costs Australia an estimated $14.6 billion annually.

Despite its prevalence, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. Statistics show that 53% of the diabetes burden is due to overweight and obesity alone.

“Although we do not know exactly what causes type 2 diabetes, it is strongly associated with modifiable lifestyle risk factors,” says Ms. Ryan.

“Peoples’ risk of developing this condition is greatly increased by several factors including high blood pressure, overweight or obesity, insufficient physical activity, and poor diet.”

Although there is no known cure, exercise – when prescribed by a suitably qualified exercise professional – is a powerful tool for managing diabetes. Exercise helps to:

  1. Make insulin work more effectively
  2. Maintain a healthy weight
  3. Lower your blood pressure
  4. Reduce your risk of heart disease
  5. Reduce stress
It’s important that people understand the value of seeking advice from an expert when it comes to exercising with diabetes.

“Those living with diabetes often experience additional barriers to exercising, including diabetes related fatigue and comorbidities like cardiovascular disease,” says Ms. Ryan.

Accredited Exercise Physiologist are university-qualified allied health professionals who have the skills and knowledge to prescribe exercise as medicine for those living with chronic conditions like diabetes.

There’s over 5,000 Accredited Exercise Physiologists around Australia, and this National Diabetes Week, we’re encouraging those living with diabetes to seek help and advice when it comes to their individual exercise needs. Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) offer a search function which allows individuals to find their local expert.