About 1.5 million Australians live with diabetes. While exercise is essential for anyone to lead a healthy and happy life, it’s even more important for those with diabetes. In fact, exercise can play a vital role in managing diabetes and preventing blood sugar levels from bounding out of control.
So, how exactly can exercise help with diabetes and weight loss? What should you know? In this article, we outline the reasons why! Let’s take a closer look.
4 Ways Regular Exercise Benefits Diabetics
The research is ultra clear: Exercise has countless benefits for diabetic individuals. Studies further show how exercise is quickly becoming the first line of care, along with dietary and behaviour modifications, for those diagnosed with diabetes. Here are the reasons why.
1. Exercise improves the muscular response to insulin.
With type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells don’t respond properly to insulin. This means that they may fail to take in glucose, leaving sugar circulating throughout the blood and potentially allowing blood sugar levels to get dangerously high.
Exercise actually improves the response that muscle cells have to insulin. In turn, the muscles increase their glucose uptake, preventing potentially life-threatening changes in blood sugar levels. This can offer diabetics a great way to manage their condition drug free and lead a relatively normal life.
2. Exercise helps regulate blood glucose levels after exercise.
If your health professional recommends a walk post-meal, well, there’s a pretty good reason for this! Exercise lowers blood sugar levels—an effect that can last up to 24 hours afterward.
Interestingly, all forms of exercise, including resistance training and aerobic activities, help manage diabetes. In fact, combining both regular resistance and aerobic training may help improve insulin sensitivity the best, specifically for those with a high risk of developing diabetes.
So, when exactly should you exercise post-meal? It’s best to workout one to three hours after your meal to combat high blood sugar levels. However, diabetics beware; Make sure to test your blood sugar levels before exercising to ensure they don’t drop too low, especially if you’re taking insulin.
3. Physical activity enhances the muscle’s glucose intake through non-insulin pathways.
With diabetes, the body struggles to respond properly to insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to manage blood sugar levels effectively. However, exercise actually improves the muscles’ ability to take in glucose, even without insulin.
4. Exercise can help with sustainable and healthy weight loss.
Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Thus, it’s undeniably important to maintain a healthy weight. If you have excess weight to lose, exercise can help you do so in a healthy way.
Primarily, weight training or resistance training can help you build muscle, enhancing your energy expenditure and helping to burn more calories. As stated above, aerobic exercise is also equally important. Going for daily walks can help ensure you get enough movement each day.
How Does An Exercise Physiologist Help?
An exercise physiologist specialises in human movement, helping create and implement exercise programs to treat injuries and chronic diseases, including diabetes. Working alongside an exercise physiologist can help you ease into exercise safely, as well as educate you on what exactly you should be doing when hitting the gym.
Make exercise a key part of your diabetes management! At Turramurra Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy, we are proud to have caring and experienced exercise physiologists as part of our team. Book your appointment today or call 9144 1510.