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Update on Type 2 Diabetes and Exercise 

The American Diabetes Association's position statement on physical activity addresses the latest on preparing for exercise, getting started with exercise, and the benefits of exercise for those with type 2 diabetes.

Preparing for Exercise - Always visit your doctor prior to starting an exercise program.  The following issues should be discussed with your physician before starting exercise.

  • Any diabetes complications you have and whether there are any exercises you should avoid.
  • How often and how much you should exercise.
  • Hydration.  Prior to exercise, ensure that you are properly hydrated.  Consume fluids during exercise to replace water losses from sweating.
  • Selecting shoes and socks for exercise to avoid injury to feet.

Getting Started 

  • Warm up.  A warm up should include 5-10 minutes of low intensity aerobic activity (such as walking at an easy pace).  Thereafter, gentle stretching for an additional 5-10 minutes is recommended.
  • Activity.  Discuss with your physician about the amount of physical activity you should do.
  • Cool down.  Following your physical activity, a 5-10 minute cool down is recommended to slowly bring your heart rate back to the pre-exercise rate.

Benefits of Exercise 

  • Blood sugar control - studies show regular exercise aids in carbohydrate metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
  • High blood fats - research indicates regular exercise reduces a blood fat that is high in triglycerides.
  • High blood pressure - evidence indicates regular exercise can reduce blood pressure, in particular among those with hyperinsulinemia (results when the level of insulin in the blood is higher than normal; due to overproduction of insulin in the body and related to insulin resistance).
  • Obesity - studies show exercise can help with weight loss and weight maintenance especially when used in conjunction with an appropriate calorie meal plan.

The American Diabetes Association indicates that exercise is of high importance in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes.  

The American Diabetes Association.  Standards of Medical Care for Patients with Diabetes Mellitus.  Diabetes Care, Volume 27, Supplement 1.

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.  Diabetes Dictionary.  National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases.


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