Regular physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and central to the prevention, care and management of diabetes. Currently 70% of Australian adults and two thirds of Australian children are not getting sufficient amounts of exercise to maintain their health. This trend in physical inactivity is contributing to the increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes in our communities. Low levels of physical activity and physical fitness, along with poor nutrition, are major risk factors influencing development of type 2 diabetes.
The good news however, is that these are modifiable risks, meaning that you have the potential to reduce your risk of diabetes, and diabetes complications, by adopting a healthy diet and participating in regular exercise. Increasing physical activity can reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes by almost 60% in people at risk. Regular exercise will benefit people with type 2 diabetes by:
- improving the body’s response to insulin, allowing better management of blood glucose levels
- lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels to reduce the risk of heart disease
- assisting in achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight
- reducing the risk of chronic complications from diabetes
- increasing bone strength, lowering the risk of osteoporosis
- improving mood, energy levels and sleep
- reducing stress and tension
It can be very daunting or difficult to start an exercise program on your own, especially if exercise is new to you. It is recommended you visit a physiotherapist, especially if you have any health conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, before you commence any physical activity programs. Your physiotherapist will work with you and your doctor to help you understand your health condition and how to manage it, as well as developing a personalised exercise and nutrient plan aimed at improving your blood glucose control, reducing body fat levels and blood pressure and improving your overall wellbeing.
A physiotherapist can provide advice on physical activity and promote self-management practices to aid in the prevention or management of diabetes and consequences of diabetes. Such consequences include frozen shoulder, foot disorders, balance problems and circulatory issues. Your physiotherapist will work with you and your doctor, podiatrist, exercise physiologist and diabetes nurse to develop an individualised management to address your goals and needs. If you have diabetes and feel that you would like some help with diabetes management, have a chat with your preferred health professional today. Prevention is better than a cure.