More than half of Australians do not meet physical activity guidelines. These statistics are alarming when there is no denying the vital role lifestyle modification like increasing physical activity levels has in the prevention and management in pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Benefits of Exercise
Regular exercise improves glycaemic control, body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, cardiovascular risk, physical functioning and wellbeing in those with pre-diabetes and T2DM. Regular exercise may delay or prevent the progression to T2DM in people with pre-diabetes. For people with T2DM, both regular exercise and resistance training improve glycaemic control.

GardeningWhat considerations are required when prescribing exercise to individuals with pre-diabetes and T2DM?
Health considerations include (but are not limited to): Joint replacements, Heart issues, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, retinopathy, nephropathy or neuropathy. It is highly recommended that a person with diabetes seek advice from their Doctor and allied health professional prior to starting an exercise program.

Exercise recommendations
The guidelines and research show that a minimum of 210 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 125 minutes of vigorous exercise each week using a combination of both aerobic and resistance training is recommended. A minimum of two resistance training exercise sessions is recommended, with no more than two consecutive days without activity. You should also focus on breaking up sedentary behaviour.

What type of exercise can I do?
Anything that gets you moving and that you enjoy. Some suggestions include:

  • Walking
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Golf
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Weight training


What about people with Type 1 DM or Gestational DM?
Just like those with pre-diabetes and T2DM, all individuals with T1DM or GDM should undertake regular exercise. While the guidelines for exercise are still the same, those with T1DM need to consider additional implications such as the impact of their insulin regime and delivery systems have on their glycaemic control.

In the absence of either medical or obstetric complications, pregnant women with GDM can undertake a regular exercise program with the same considerations and precautions as those with T2DM.

Special Considerations
Before individuals with pre-diabetes or T2DM commence exercise, screening for associated contraindications and risks is vital. The above exercise guidelines are not appropriate for individuals with poor glycaemic control, peripheral neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy and poorly controlled blood pressure. It is important to note that these risks should not prevent you from exercising. With a thorough assessment an appropriate exercise program can be developed.

At ProMed, our passion is to help our patients improve their health and achieve their lifestyle goals. We work closely with all our clients with diabetes to assess their issues and develop individually tailored exercise programs. Special consideration is given to footwear where we assess and refer for appropriate footwear to minimise foot injury.

Book A Diabetes Foot Risk Assessment Here

Leave a Comment