Engage in exercise interventions to help combat pre-diabetes

With diabetes one of the fastest growing chronic conditions in Australia, today marks
World Diabetes Day, a campaign aimed to put diabetes in the spotlight globally. With 1 in 2 people currently living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, early diagnosis and treatment are key to preventing the complications of diabetes to achieve healthy outcomes.

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) wants to educate the Australian public on the benefits of regular physical activity when managing diabetes, however a high importance must be placed on how early interventions through exercise can reduce the risk of pre-diabetes developing in to type 2 diabetes.

In 2015, diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death, however regular physical activity has a direct effect on those living with this chronic condition, as well as those who show signs of prediabetes – a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal and are at high-risk of developing type 2 diabetes,” says Anita Hobson-Powell, ESSA Chief Executive Officer.

This year, the focus of World Diabetes Day is on the families who live with diabetes, as the International Diabetes Federation reports that, although over 425 million people globally are currently living with diabetes, all families are potentially affected by pre-diabetes and so awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors for all types of diabetes are vital to help detect it early.

Untreated prediabetes can lead to a type 2 diabetes diagnosis within five years. The good news is, early exercise intervention can help get your health back on track before pre-diabetes develops into type 2 diabetes,” explains Carly Ryan, Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

So how does exercise help regulate blood glucose levels in people with pre-diabetes and type 1 and 2 diabetes?

When your muscles contract during exercise, your cells are able to take up glucose and use it for energy. Insulin sensitivity is increased, so your muscle cells are better able to use any available insulin to take up glucose during and after activity.

“Essentially, regular physical activity helps your body to use insulin better and to feel fit and healthy.”

If diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes there is a range of options for incorporating physical activity in to daily living, from walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, lifting weights or even yoga, any movement is going to be beneficial for your health.

“Encouraging physical activity for children is important – the more steps they do, the better. Research tells us that it can be as simple as adding an extra 1,000 steps in to the day of a child living with type 1 diabetes to improve their cardiovascular health.”

For those living with diabetes who are thinking of commencing physical activity to benefit their health, seeking advice from the right health professional is vital.

“If you are diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, before beginning an exercise program, you should undergo a medical evaluation by your doctor to identify any diabetic related complications. An assessment and evaluation of by an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is also recommended. An AEP can then deliver an expertly prescribed exercise program tailored to your individual requirements and goals.”

To locate your local Accredited Exercise Physiologist, visit the ESSA website.

To find out more about World Diabetes Day, here.