The Australian-wide awareness week for diabetes kicked off on Sunday, with National Diabetes Week running from 9th July – 15th July. Diabetes Australia reports that around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, including all types of diagnosed diabetes (1.2 million known and registered) as well as silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes (up to 500,000 estimated).
As the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia, there is a high importance placed on how to safely and effectively manage diabetes. Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) wants to educate the Australian public on the benefits of regular physical activity when managing your diabetes.
“Regular exercise has a direct effect on those living with diabetes and many are not aware of this fact. Exercise can reduce the risks of developing diabetes, as well as make symptoms more manageable for those already diagnosed,” says ESSA Chief Executive Officer, Anita Hobson-Powell.
Statistics show that 280 Australians develop diabetes every day and for every person diagnosed with diabetes there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role. This means that an estimated 2.4 million Australians are affected by diabetes every day.
ESSA’s Exercise Right digital awareness campaign, ‘Don’t Sugar Coat Diabetes’, is targeted at all these Australians living with diabetes, including those managing the condition or in a support role.
“This campaign aims to raise awareness of risk factors leading to the development of diabetes and the other health implications the chronic condition can have, especially for those living sedentary lifestyles,” says Ms Hobson-Powell.
Whilst exercise cannot reverse the damage to the cells in the pancreas that leads to the decreased production of insulin, exercise can in fact improve the way the muscles respond to insulin, which, in turn, helps regulate the blood glucose level for some hours after the exercise.
“Physical activity also increases glucose uptake by the muscles in other ways that do not depend on insulin. In addition, exercise can lower the dose of insulin required by improving the body’s response to insulin,” explains Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Carly Ryan.
“It is important to exercise right for your diabetes, however, as those with this condition may have an increased risk of complications, it’s recommended you always seek advice from an accredited exercise professional for an expertly prescribed exercise program tailored to your individual requirements and goals,” notes Ms Ryan.
To locate your local exercise professional, click here.
To find out more about National Diabetes Week, click here.