Many people with type 2 diabetes do not benefit from exercise. The reason may be because they are overweight, and they might feel intimidated by the idea of trying to exercise. Before embarking on an exercise program, however, it is important to talk to a doctor to ensure that your exercises are safe and effective. Your doctor can assess your heart condition, including high blood pressure and blocked arteries, as well as other diabetes-related complications. He or she may even refer you to an exercise physiologist or a diabetes educator to help you develop a safe and effective program.
Exercise can improve your blood glucose control, but the benefits of exercise are not immediately apparent. A recent study conducted by Dr. Taheri and her team found that patients with Type 2 diabetes who did not exercise had higher blood glucose levels, and they experienced difficulty with common physical activities. While the study did not determine the exact cause, it did show that exercising can improve glucose levels and blood vessel health. Exercise can also improve overall cardiovascular health, and cardiovascular fitness is a major risk factor for dying from any cause.
The results of the trial show that moderate to vigorous physical activity can improve insulin sensitivity. The intensity of exercise does not matter, as long as it is at least 30 minutes per week. This means that even 10-minute brisk walks can have significant health benefits. Most trials involved just three sessions per week of aerobic activity. This number may not be realistic for some individuals with Type 2 diabetes, however. They are not the only ones with mixed results.