The power of exercise: managing type 2 diabetes with physical activity


PDC Health Hub

We understand that living with type 2 diabetes can be challenging and feel unfair at times, but PDC Health Hub has a whole team of experts who are here to help you feel more in control!

One of the most effective tools in managing diabetes is exercise. Beyond just the physical benefits, regular physical activity can significantly improve your blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and overall wellbeing. Let's explore the specific ways in which exercise can help individuals with type 2 diabetes together:

Improved insulin sensitivity. What does this even mean?!
One of the primary benefits of exercise for managing type 2 diabetes is its impact on insulin sensitivity. Physical activity helps your body use insulin more effectively, allowing glucose to enter cells and reducing blood sugar levels. Regular exercise can lead to a decreased need for medication or insulin injections, promoting improved diabetes management.

Lowered blood sugar levels.
Engaging in exercise promotes the movement of glucose from the bloodstream to the muscles, where it's utilised for energy. This not only helps lower blood sugar levels during exercise but it also improves glucose control after exercise. Consistent exercise routines can result in more stable and balanced blood sugar levels over time.

Weight management.
Weight management is an important piece of the 'health puzzle' for individuals with type 2 diabetes, and exercise plays a vital role in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. It aids in burning calories, building lean muscle mass, and increasing metabolism. By shedding excess weight or maintaining a healthy weight, you can improve insulin sensitivity, reduce the risk of complications from diabetes, and enjoy enhanced overall diabetes control.

Improved heart health.
Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of poor heart health. Thankfully, regular exercise goes a long way to improved heart health by lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, and enhancing heart function. These benefits can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, which is more prevalent among individuals living with diabetes.

Increased muscle strength and endurance.
Incorporating strength training exercises into your routine offers numerous advantages for managing type 2 diabetes. Resistance exercises, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, can increase muscle mass, improve strength, and enhance endurance. This can lead to improved insulin sensitivity, enhanced glucose control, and increased overall physical fitness. PDC can help with the development of a strength and endurance program, so no need to worry if this benefit seems too far out of reach for you! 

Stress reduction.
Chronic stress can negatively impact blood sugar levels and overall well-being. And chronic stress is most certainly correlated with chronic diseases such as diabetes. The good news is, exercise is a powerful tool for reducing stress and promoting mental wellness. Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Regular exercise can help you manage stress levels, improving your diabetes management and enhancing your overall quality of life.

Improved energy levels.
Living with type 2 diabetes can sometimes lead to feelings of fatigue and low energy levels. However, exercise has a remarkable ability to increase energy and reduce fatigue. Regular physical activity boosts metabolism, increases oxygen flow, and enhances overall vitality. By incorporating exercise into your daily routine, you can experience improved energy levels, making it easier to engage in daily activities and maintain an active lifestyle.

Improved sleep quality.
Quality sleep is essential for everyone, and especially those living with diabetes. Good sleep health contributes to better blood sugar control and overall health. Regular exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and duration. By promoting restful sleep, exercise indirectly supports diabetes management and helps maintain stable blood sugar levels.

To summarise, exercise is a vital component of managing type 2 diabetes effectively! By engaging in regular physical activity, individuals living with diabetes can improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, boost their heart health, increase muscle strength, reduce stress, boost energy levels, and improve sleep quality! Contact us to book in with one of our Accredited Exercise Physiologists to create an exercise plan that suits your needs and abilities, and embrace the power of exercise in managing your type 2 diabetes. Or if you'd prefer, join us for our upcoming educational seminar on The Power of Exercise for Type 2 Diabetes.

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