Diabetes & Exercise

Diabetes & Exercise

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that is known by elevated fasting blood glucose levels because of a fault in insulin (hormone) secretion or a decreased ability to utilize insulin.

There are two main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • This type of diabetes occurs when the cells responsible for producing insulin in the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s immune system. This results in the body’s cells being unable to take glucose and turn it into energy. Glucose then stays in the bloodstream, building up and causing permanent damage to vital organs.

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • This type of diabetes is more common. It occurs when the pancreas produces insulin but the body’s cells respond poorly therefore not taking blood glucose and turning it into energy. Thus, resulting in glucose build up in the blood and damaging vital organs.

    How exercise helps with diabetes

    Exercise plays an essential role in the management of diabetes. It is unable to reverse the damage to cells in the pancreas but can improve the way the muscle responds to insulin. This assists in controlling blood glucose levels for hours after exercise. Exercise also allows for the increase in glucose uptake by the muscles in ways that don’t rely on insulin. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease as uncontrolled diabetes is a risk factor for the condition.

    Best types of exercise for diabetes

    Both supervised and unsupervised phases of exercise programs are recommended. Exercise programs must have changes in duration, intensity and frequency of exercise.

    Evidence recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activities such as walking, strength training, swimming, and cycling. 


    Exercise Right. 2022. Diabetes and Exercise - What you need to know!. [online] Available at: <>