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Exercise Right for Diabetes this National Diabetes Week

This week is National Diabetes Week (8th July – 14th July) and with more than 1 in 20 (or 1.2 million) Australians having diabetes, it’s been labelled as the fastest growing chronic condition in the nation.

This National Diabetes Week, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) wants to remind all Australians of the benefits of exercising right for their health, and how physical activity can help manage, and even prevent, chronic conditions such as diabetes.

“With more than 280 Australians developing diabetes every day – that’s one person every five minutes – physical inactivity is responsible for almost 20% of the disease’s burden,” says Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA Chief Executive Officer.

Everybody benefits from regular exercise but for people with diabetes mellitus (type 1 or type 2) exercise can play a vital role in the management of their condition.

“For example, exercise cannot reverse the damage to the cells in the pancreas that leads to the decreased production of insulin. However, exercise can improve the way the muscles respond to insulin, which, in turn, helps regulate the blood glucose level for some hours after the exercise,” explains Beth Sheehan, Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

Diabetes also dramatically increases the risk of being affected by other chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, and eye damage, to name a few. However, exercise can help decrease your risk of developing these conditions and manage diabetes related complications.

Things to remember when exercising with diabetes:

  • To avoid potential problems, blood glucose levels need to be checked before, during and after exercise.
  • Avoid injecting insulin into exercising limbs.
  • To prevent foot ulcers, supportive shoes and well-fitting socks need to be worn and regular foot checks undertaken.

“By maintaining an active lifestyle, and keeping track of the signs and symptoms of chronic conditions, Australians can help manage their diabetes, or even protect themselves from developing it,” adds Beth.

It’s important to speak with your GP prior to undertaking any exercise, and by working with an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, they can ensure you’re exercising right for your diabetes condition and deliver an expertly prescribed exercise program tailored to your individual requirements and goals.

You can find your local Accredited Exercise Physiologist on the ESSA website here.

For more information on exercise and diabetes, visit the Exercise Right website.