Exercise Helps in Management of Type 2 Diabetes

In the United States, about 1/10 Americans have Diabetes, with 90-95% of these individuals having Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is caused by an issue known as insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps that body convert sugar in the blood to energy that the body can use. When the cells are resistant to insulin, the body is unable to regulate and use glucose as fuel. Consequently, blood sugar levels rise and can lead to issues with immune, cardiovascular, and neurological function. Diabetes, when uncontrolled, can be very dangerous to the human body. In 2017, it was listed as the seventh leading cause of death in our country.

Overwhelming evidence supports the use of lifestyle based programs focused on physical activity, nutrition, and weight loss to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. Regular exercise not only helps with blood sugar control, but has also been shown to reduce the risk of associated cardiovascular events. The American Diabetes Association recommends that aerobic exercise (walking, biking, etc) is performed for a total of 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours per week. An example would be 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week. For beginners, a good starting point may be 3 sets of 10 minutes daily, 5 days per week. Strength training is also an important component and should be performed at least 2 days per week for optimal benefits.

10 Exercises to Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes:

  1. Walking
  2. Cycling
  3. Swimming
  4. Jogging
  5. Dancing
  6. Balance training
  7. Resistance Bands
  8. Weight Training (free weights or circuit training)
  9. Yoga
  10. Body weight supported exercises (planks, push ups, bridges, etc)

If you are interested in learning more about how exercise can help in controlling Type 2 Diabetes, please reach out to the Physical Therapy Team at Warm Springs Holistic Health for more information.


by Alicia Oberholzer PT, DPT, OCS, Warm Springs Holistic Health